One of Israel’s most wanted terrorists, Sheikh Salah Shehada, has been reported dead after strikes on Monday by F-16 aircraft on five civilian houses in one of the most densely-populated areas of the Gaza Strip.
Shehada, a militant former lecturer at the Gaza Islamic University, had founded the military wing of Hamas, called Izz Al-Din al Qassam, responsible for tens of deaths among Israeli civilians through suicide bombing attacks during the current Al Aqsa intifada, which began in September 2000.
Eye witnesses confirmed that two F-16s were used in the raid and that one launched a missile attack on the houses. 15 people are reported dead, with 140 injured. Along with Shehada, his wife and three children were killed, along with seven other children, including two babies.
This is a significant result for the Israeli Defence Force policy of targeting militant leaders and terrorists for assassination yet it comes at a time when Hamas had just declared that the suicide bombings would stop if the IDF pulled out of the West bank and Gaza Strip.
The reaction from Hamas was peremptory: “It is a horrible massacre committed by the Zionist terrorists and the Americans, who killed old people, women and children”. Hamas vowed that revenge would come, declaring that “The battle has been launched”.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru