Hamas vows revenge after Israeli attempt to assassinate Sheikh Yassin
Hamas spiritual leader and founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was lightly wounded Saturday afternoon when an Israeli F-16 fighter jet dropped a quarter-ton bomb on a building in Gaza City, in the northern Gaza Strip.
According to Palestinian sources, 15 other people, among them children, were injured in the air strike.
According to Hamas and other Palestinian sources, the spiritual leader and an assistant had recently left the building that was targeted shortly before the attack.
Witnesses said that Yassin and his aide - later identified as senior leader Ismail Haniyah - were rushed away in a car. Yassin was reportedly treated for his injuries at Shifa Hospital in the city. Hamas officials said he was lightly injured in the hand.
"You will pay the price for this crime," Yassin told a crowd of supporters after praying at a mosque, aiming his comments at Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
"The Israeli people will pay a dear price for this crime...Our people will not raise the white flag. The [Zionist] entity will be removed."
The attack took place as several Hamas leaders were holding a meeting at the home of senior Hamas official and Islamic University lecturer, Dr. Marwan Abu Ras, in the city. Abu Ras and his son were also slightly wounded.
After the strike, Hamas threatened to assassinate Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. "We warn Sharon that his head is now wanted by our troops," activists of Hamas' military wing said via loudspeaker at a Gaza City hospital where Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was treated for his injury.
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)