Sunday, April 18, 2004

Good News in the Middle East

I've just come across a piece of wonderful news via Samizdata; it appears that the new head of Hamas, Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi, one-time pediatrician turned child-killer, has been sent to meet his ancestors.

The head of the Hamas militant Islamic movement in Gaza, Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, has been killed in a targeted Israeli missile strike on his car.

Mr Rantissi's death came 26 days after the founder of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, was killed in another "targeted killing" by the Israeli military.


The force of the explosion at about 2030 (1730 GMT) was felt around the city.

There have been reports that the car was hit by two more missiles.

Two people, believed to be one of Mr Rantissi's sons and a bodyguard, were killed instantly, but the Hamas leader himself was still alive and was taken to Gaza's al-Shifa hospital.

Surgeons operated on Mr Rantissi, but he died at the hospital.

The first doctor to treat Mr Rantissi, Joma el-Saka, told the BBC that the Hamas leader was in a serious condition when he arrived, with a severe head injury and multiple shrapnel wounds to his neck and torso.

He described Mr Rantissi as being in "the terminal stage, alive, but gasping for breath".

"There is no hospital that could have saved him in the whole world," Dr Saka said.

Call me bloodthirsty, but I'm not in the least bit sad that this murderer of innocents has finally met the same fate he meted out so liberally to others. I'm glad he didn't die immediately, but lingered for some time afterwards, hopefully in considerable agony.

Frankly, it's cause for serious headscratching on my part that Israel allowed Rantissi to live so long, as he seemed to me to be, if anything, a far more deserving target of Israeli aggression than Yassin himself, given how deeply involved Rantissi had been in the daily operations of Hamas. Predictably, some members of Hamas are already talking about "revenge" and so forth, but it isn't as if Hamas needed any provocation to launch suicide attacks to begin with, so their credibility on that score isn't all that it could be. If Hamas isn't currently killing more Israelis than it's been managing to, it's probably due more to practical operational constraints than to any sense of restraint on the part of its leadership.