Hamas threatens Israel’s Sharon

Abdel Aziz Rantissi, who has been named as Sheikh Ahmed Yassin’s successor in the occupied territories, also sought to allay fears that United States targets could be attacked.

In a statement issued after Yassin’s death in an Israeli military strike, Hamas’ military wing hinted the US could be targeted, as Israel must have “obtained the green light from the terrorist American administration”.

But Rantissi said: “If they are worried, then they are stupid because we have said it many times that we will target only our enemy, the (Israeli) occupiers.”

Rantissi has been receiving condolences at a football stadium in Gaza in the wake of the death of the movement’s spiritual leader and founder.

He said: “As long as we are under aggression and occupation we are not ready to speak about a ceasefire.”

The Islamic movement’s Damascus-based political chief, Khaled Meshaal, also said he would like to see Yassin’s assassination avenged by targeting Sharon.

“I hope that the mujahedin (holy warriors) will be able to respond to this odious crime by targeting the top rank Zionist leaders,” he told a Hamas-linked website.

“Yes, Sharon is one of them, but it is up to the military leadership on the ground to decide on its application. I hope that they are successful.”

And Hamas’ armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, promised an “unprecedented” response to the assassination of the wheel chair-bound cleric.

Despite the barrage of international condemnation that followed Monday’s assassination, Israel pledged to pursue the same policy and wipe out the whole leadership of Hamas.

Israel has been on high alert, with extra security forces deployed around the Palestinian territories and in Israeli cities, for fear of suicide attacks in retaliation for Yassin’s killing.

Meanwhile the UN’s Human Rights Commission, meeting in Geneva, adopted a resolution Wednesday condemning Israel for killing Yassin.

Thirty-one countries in the assembly voted in favour of the resolution brought by Pakistan and other Muslim states, while Australia and the US rejected it. Eighteen countries, including the EU states, abstained.

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