RealNews

Sharon Bets on Weakening Hamas

As high-stakes gambles go, Monday’s assassination of Sheik Ahmed Yassin ranks as one of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s biggest rolls of the dice. In eliminating Yassin, the aging, ailing founder and spiritual leader of Hamas, Sharon has wagered that the strike would leave the Islamic militant group’s disciples reeling and disoriented, undercutting their organizational effectiveness and sapping their will to carry out more attacks. Sharon also appears to have calculated that the dramatic strike would help ensure that his plan to withdraw Israeli troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip was not interpreted by Palestinian militants as a sign of weakness. The prime minister may also believe the boldness of this move will boost his sagging political standing among Israelis, analysts say. Full Story

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