Israel says Yassin not immune from being targeted, ''campaign'' on way to oust Syria from Lebanon
Israel's Defense Minister Saul Mofaz said Sunday during the weekly cabinet meeting that, "If Hizbullah will try again to kidnap soldiers, Israel's reaction would be very severe".
Regarding Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who recently spoke of kidnapping Israeli soldiers, Mofaz said it was clear that Yassin and the Hamas leadership constitute a target for attack.
"We've already decided in the past as a policy that terror leaders aren't immune from being targeted", the Israeli Minister said.
When asked by Agriculture Minister Israel Katz whether an order was given to refrain from trying to target Yassin and other Hamas leaders, Mofaz said, "It is true there was such a directive, but it needs to be renewed from time to time".
Meanwhile, Israel's foreign minister Silvan Shalom told the cabinet ministers in the meeting, that his ministry had launched a "campaign" aimed at ousting Syria from Lebanon.
Shalom said Damascus was an "occupying power" in Lebanon and that there were currently around one million Syrians in Lebanon. Shalom also urged the international community to stop ignoring Syria's "control of Lebanon".
The Israeli top diplomat said he recently raised the issue in meetings with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, in Davos and with Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, who was in Israel last week.
Shalom said he intended to raise the issue in all his meetings with heads of state, and that Israel's diplomatic representatives abroad had been instructed to bring the issue to the attention of officials in the countries in which they were serving. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)