RealNews

Death of Sheik Raises Question of Hamas Fate

In killing the Hamas spiritual leader, Sheik Ahmed Yassin, Israel is wagering that it has so weakened his Palestinian faction that it cannot retaliate with the wave of revenge attacks it has threatened. After nearly two years of systematic Israeli raids against Hamas and other violent Palestinian groups, suicide bombings fell to 20 last year, down from 54 a year earlier. Over all, Israeli deaths fell by half in 2003 compared with 2002. But the deadly helicopter strike on Monday outside a Gaza City mosque generated such rage among Palestinians that many here fear that Israel could face a surge of retaliatory strikes. The question, then, is which will prove more important, the leader who was slain or the following he inspired. Full Story

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