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Sharon prepares Israel's Armageddon

Yassin murder followed by Rantissi, Leader of Hamas Ariel Sharon goes for broke, days after he visited his political master in Washington. Just as Ahmad Yassin was blitzed in his wheelchair as he left a mosque in Gaza, Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi was murdered Sunday in a missile strike on his car.

The Israeli military helicopter targeted the car in a suburb of Gaza, murdering Rantissi, two people accompanying and causing a number of injured. Sources state that the attack was in retaliation for a terrorist attack in Erez, where a suicide bomber killed himself and an Israeli soldier.

The second killing of senior Hamas figures in two weeks has led to an explosive situation in Gaza, where community leaders have vowed to revenge the blood spilled. Ismail Haniya, a leading Hamas member, called the attack an act of terrorism and said that Rantissi's blood will be avenged.

Rantissi was the second in command to Yassin in the hierarchy of Hamas and was known for his vociferous opposition to conciliation with Israel.

He was born in 1947, and trained as a doctor, joining the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in the 1970s. It was in the following decade that he became known to the Israeli authorities, for his participation in the first Intifada, which earned him a prison sentence of two years.

He was later deported to Lebanon but on return to Gaza, caused problems with the Palestinian Authority and was detained for his claims that senior Palestinian officials had collaborated with Israel.

It is difficult to see how Hamas will allow the murder of two of its leaders to pass without serious retaliation.

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