Tags: Bush | 'Deeply | Troubled' | Israeli | Attack | Hamas | Leader

Bush 'Deeply Troubled' by Israeli Attack on Hamas Leader

Tuesday, 10 June 2003 12:00 AM

Israeli helicopters fired rockets in Gaza City early today at a car in which Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi was riding. The attack killed three people and injured about 25 other others, including Rantisi's son Ahmed.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the president was "deeply troubled by the strike," concerned it "will undermine efforts by Palestinian authorities and others to bring an end to terrorist attacks and does not contribute to the security of Israel."

"We will continue with our 'holy' war and resistance until every last criminal Zionist is evicted from this land," Rantisi, who suffered leg injuries, told the Arab TV satellite station Al Jazeera from his hospital room.

Revenge "will be like an earthquake," he vowed.

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian prime minister seen as a reconciliator by the U.S. and Israel, called the assault on Rantisi a "criminal and terrorist" attack.

Ha'aretz said Rantisi was the highest-ranking Palestinian militant yet to be targeted in an Israeli assassination attempt.

"An eye for an eye ... a politician for a politician," said one Hamas leader, Mahmoud Zahar. Palestinians "must throw the road map into the garbage and commit to the map of 'holy' war," he said.

Later in the day, Israeli tanks and helicopters that fired toward a Palestinian residential area in the northern Gaza Strip killed two 19-year-old men and a 16-year-old girl and wounded 30 people, doctors said.

Palestinians fired six homemade rockets from northern Gaza, with four landing in Israel, including in the border town of Sderot, the Israeli military said.

The attacks came four days after Hamas ended talks with Abbas on halting violence. "Hamas then participated Sunday in a rare joint operation with rival groups Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades to kill four Israeli soldiers at an army outpost in Gaza. Hamas has killed hundreds of Israelis in bombings and shootings in the fighting," Fox News reported.

Abbas accused Israel of trying to destroy the peace plan to get out of its commitments.

Israeli officials would not comment.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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Israeli helicopters fired rockets in Gaza City early today at a car in which Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi was riding. The attack killed three people and injured about 25 other others, including Rantisi's son Ahmed. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the president...
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Tuesday, 10 June 2003 12:00 AM
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