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Israeli cabinet minister urges assassinations of Palestinian leadership in Gaza

Nov. 16, 2008 1:04 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 16, 2008 1:04 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israeli Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz urged Israel on Sunday to assassinate leaders in the Hamas-controlled government of the Gaza Strip in response to the launch of homemade projectiles from the Gaza Strip.

Mofaz said his country must "stop talking and launch a personal targeted killing policy, against the Hamas government." The remarks were carried by the Israeli news website Ynet.

If implemented, the assassinations would be an escalation of a present Israeli assault on Gaza which began with a truce-breaking incursion on 4 November.

On Sunday morning another Israeli airstrike killed four Palestinian fighters in Northern Gaza, bringing the death toll in Gaza to 15 since 4 November.

Two homemade rockets also landed in the vicinity of Gaza on Sunday, causing no damage. According to the Israeli military, Palestinian resistance groups have launched 170 projectiles into Israel since the aggression began. There have been no injuries reported as a result of the projectiles, and no damage to any buildings.

Mofaz, a member of the ruling center-right Kadima party, also advocated assassinations when he served as defense minister and military chief of staff.

Mofaz explained, "It turns out that Israel's policy - cutting the supply of goods, electricity and water, is failing to yield the desired results. Moreover, it appears that we are the ones acting like the ones interested in a truce, not Hamas. This approach and policy is wrong."

"We must convene immediately, form a policy and bring it to the cabinet's approval as soon as possible," Mofaz said.

Olmert: Truce 'shattered'

At a cabinet meeting earlier on Sunday outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that Israel is not afraid to use force against Gaza factions launching projectiles at Israeli targets.

Addressing other Israeli leaders at the meeting he was quoted by the Israeli press as saying "we will hurt anyone who tries to violate the truce."

"The responsibility for the shattering of the calm and the creation of a situation of prolonged and repeated violence in the south of the country is entirely on Hamas and the other terror groups in Gaza," Olmert told Israeli ministers in remarks reported by AFP.

Olmert gave no timeframe for wide-spread military action, and made no comment on the discussions on Gaza border closures that are scheduled for later on Sunday.

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