Israel kills Islamic Jihad leader
Tue 5 October, 2004 18:40
By Nidal al-Mughrabi
GAZA (Reuters) - Israel has killed the top commander of the Islamic Jihad militant group in a Gaza airstrike, drawing vows of revenge that could complicate efforts to end a massive Israeli offensive into the strip.
Bashir ad-Dabbash, 38, was the most senior leader within Palestinian territories of the group that is sworn to destroying the Jewish state and at the forefront of a suicide bombing campaign during a 4-year-old Palestinian uprising.
He died on Tuesday alongside another militant one year and one day after the last big suicide bombing by the faction -- when a Palestinian woman killed 23 others at a restaurant in the northern Israeli city of Haifa.
The Israeli army said in a statement that it had attacked the vehicle.
"Islamic Jihad will not be broken by this martyrdom," said Khaled al-Batsh, a senior political leader in Gaza. "Islamic Jihad's armed wing will return this strike with tougher strikes against the Zionist entity."
Dabbash's assassination was Israel's most high-profile since it killed the leader of the kindred Hamas group in April.
Dabbash headed Islamic Jihad's military wing, known as the al-Quds Brigade. Political leader Ramadan Shallah is abroad.
His body was borne to the morgue from the wreckages of his car by militants firing in the air and chanting for revenge.
The strike raised tension just as Israeli and Palestinian officials were trying to work out a deal to end a six-day-old Israeli offensive into the Gaza Strip to end rocket fire by Palestinian militants.
Security commanders on both sides have begun indirect contacts through Egyptian mediators as Israel faces U.S. calls for restraint in a six-day-old army campaign in which 69 Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed.
Israel launched its offensive after a Hamas rocket strike killed two toddlers in the border town of Sderot on Wednesday, fuelling Israeli criticism of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to uproot Jewish settlements in Gaza next year.
Israel is now demanding three straight "rocket-free" days as proof of the Palestinian Authority's commitment to prevent such attacks, an Israeli security source said. The last rocket strike on Monday wounded one man on a college campus in Sderot.
The effort to quell fighting in the northern Gaza Strip followed U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's call for Israel to quickly end what has grown into its bloodiest army operation since the start of a Palestinian uprising in 2000.
Palestinian sources say 41 militants have been killed. Two Israeli soldiers and a woman settler have also died.
A missile strike killed a gunman on Tuesday in the besieged Jabalya refugee camp, a militant stronghold that has been the main focus of the raid. A 24-year-old Palestinian was later killed by Israeli gunfire.
Palestinian leaders have complained about what they see as world indifference to the latest in a string of Israeli raids.
The Palestinians' Arab allies began pressing late on Monday for a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding Israel stop its offensive, but the United States signalled it would oppose a "one-sided" measure, hinting of a possible veto.
Palestinian officials said Egypt was acting as an intermediary and was also pressing Hamas to stop firing its makeshift Qassam rockets at Israeli towns. An Israeli general flew to Cairo for talks on the Gaza situation.
An Israeli security source said discussions were expected to accelerate but that Israel remained sceptical of the willingness of Palestinian security men to confront Hamas.
"Their record in this area is not good," the source said.
Palestinian cabinet minister Saeb Erekat said he was unaware of contacts with Israel, which refuses to talk directly to the Palestinian Authority. But he welcomed any move by Israel "to speak to the Palestinian Authority instead of destroying it."
Some officials of Hamas suggested they might be ready to stop firing rockets if Israel halts its Gaza offensive.
But Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri said Israel first had to stop "all sorts of aggression against our people".
"Palestinian leaders have complained about what they see as world indifference to the latest in a string of Israeli raids."
Maybe if they quit targeting and murdering civilians they'd get less "world indifference".
Another one bites the dust!
Israel is the shit
Its hard to believe, but they are better at killing brown people than we are.
The IDF is the king of pest control.
Of employing 80% of the "refugee" Palistinian population, until Arafat's staged Intifada2 deliberately attempted to force Israel to close the checkpoints and force more of Arafat's subject population into unemployment.
Of providing Hospital services to Palestinians.
Of providing Electricity services to Palestinians.
Of providing potable water services to Palestinians.
In the last 60yrs, the Israels have made a desert bloom, while fighting up repeated attempts by her Arab neighbors to annihilate her.
In the last 60yrs, the "Palestinian Refugees" have done nothing but create a Death Cult.
Campybob and Rayra,
I'm impressed. Pretty profound remarks.