Israeli minister: Hamas political chief included hit-list
A senior member of the Israeli security cabinet warned on Monday that Israel would liquidate exiled Hamas political chief Khaled Meshaal "at the first opportunity."
"He is a more than legitimate target and I am convinced that at the first opportunity we will rid ourselves of him, despite the difficulty of the task," Public Security Minister Avi Dichter told army radio.
The Damascus-based Meshaal escaped a Mossad assassination attempt in Amman in 1997, when two agents botched an attempt to poison him. "He is not safe anywhere, neither in Damascus or elsewhere," Dichter noted. "And he knows this perfectly well."
Asked whether Palestinian prime minister Ismail Haniya could also be a target, Dichter said: "If Haniya is part of those who give the orders to carry out attacks, that will make him a legitimate target."
"He is linked to the group that has at its heart terrorism against us, but I am not aware if he is among those who directly give the orders" for rocket attacks, Dichter said.
The warning came just hours after Israel's security cabinet gave the army the green light to step up operations against Palestinian leaders. Eight people were killed in a new Israeli air raid in Gaza on Sunday and at least 12 people were injured in the attack against the home of a Hamas leader and member of the Palestinian parliament, Khalil al-Haya, medics said.
Another raid late on Sunday which the Israeli military said targeted a metal workshop in Gaza City killed one person and wounded three, according to Palestinian medics, cited by AFP.
Haya told reporters while visiting the injured in hospital that the strike on his home "will not stop us pursuing the resistance and Jihad." Palestinian prime minister Ismail Haniya, leader of Hamas, denounced the "terrible crime carried out by the Zionists against a member of parliament," and called on the international community to intervene to "stop this dangerous aggression which is heightening tension."
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