Killing pushes Gaza to the brink


Palestinitan militants declared “open war” on Israel after the assassination of 67-year-old Sheik Ahmed Yassin when an Israeli helicopter gunship attacked as he left a Gaza mosque.

Sheik Yassin was killed along with seven others when the Apache helicopter fired three missiles into the convoy of cars escorting him home.

In other developments:

  • FIGHTING broke out on the Lebanese-Israeli front in the wake of the attack, with Hezbollah guerrillas shelling Israeli positions in a disputed area and Israel retaliating with air-strikes.
  • US and Israeli officials said Israel had not notified Washington in advance of the attack.
  • ISRAELI officials acknowledged the assassination was bound to unleash a wave of terror attacks against Israeli targets. However, the long-term effect would be one of deterrence, they said.
  • ISRAEL opposition leader Shimon Peres has said the assassination was a mistake. “Had I been a member of the government I would have voted against this,” he said.
  • INDONESIA – the world’s most populous Muslim nation – called the assassination “shocking” and warned it could spark fresh bloodletting in the Middle East.