Assassination of the Hamas leader

Al Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian Islamic resistance movement Hamas, vowed on Sunday to hit Israeli targets abroad after one of its leaders was assassinated in Damascus earlier in the day.

The group said in a leaflet that Israel has opened a new gate of conflict.

Hamas has always been careful to keep the &to=http://' target=_blank>conflict within Palestine, but Israel which moved it outside Palestine must carry responsibility for the result, the leaflet said.

Ezzedin Sheikh Khalil, 42, was killed in a car bomb when he started the engine and an explosive charge under the driver's seat ripped through his SUV in the Az-Zahera neighborhood of the Syrian capital.Israeli Channel Two television said Israel was behind the death, reports Xinhua.

In keeping with tradition, Israel will never directly acknowledges that it had a hand in the &to=http:// 21/96/383/11003_Hoffman.html ' target=_blank>assassination of the Hamas figure in Damascus Sunday.

Nevertheless, the strike came after repeated finger pointing and warnings by Israel that it would widen its war on terrorists and that no place was immune. Perhaps &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Israel’s Mossad was helped by as sub-contractor? Perhaps they were even Syrian?

The point is, Bashir Assad was caught red handed. After declaring that the Hamas leadership had all cleared out of town, one of them found himself blown to bits right there in the capital.

Hamas was quick to blame Israel and that too further humiliated Assad by exposing that Israel or its agents could strike in the heart of his country with impunity. Leaders here know that Assad's options are limited. He would never seek a frontal conflict with a much mightier Israel. With the Americans breathing down his neck to remove his troops from Lebanon, retaliating at Israel through its proxy Hizbullah also seems remote, wrote Jerusalem Post.

In Damascus, the Syrian news agency called the attack an assassination, and said Israel bears full responsibility for its consequences.

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