Top Hamas Leader in Gaza City Killed

WaPo: Top Hamas Leader in Gaza City Killed

An Israeli missile strike killed Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi as he rode in his car Saturday evening, hospital officials said. Rantisi’s son Mohammed and a bodyguard were also killed in the attack.

The militant Hamas leader was one of Israel’s top targets after it assassinated Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin in an airstrike last month.

Rantisi’s car was hit with missiles Saturday evening on the road outside his home, leaving only the burned, destroyed vehicle. After the explosion, Israeli helicopters were heard in the area.

Rantisi was taken to the hospital in critical condition, his body pocked with bloody wounds and blood streaming from his head and neck. He was taken to emergency surgery but died five minutes after arriving at the hospital.

Palestinian officials lashed the Israeli strike.

“We condemn in strongest possible terms this Israeli crime of assassinating Dr. Rantisi. This is state terror, and the Israeli government is fully responsible for the consequences of this action,” Palestinian Cabinet minister Saeb Erekat said.


Rantisi is [Was! -ed.] Hamas’ top leader in Gaza and one of the most hard-line members of the militant movement who rejects all compromise with Israel and calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.

If the Israelis keep this up, pretty soon no one is going to want to be in charge of the group. I’m guessing it’s already pretty hard to get health insurance if “Hamas leader” is listed under “occupation.”

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. McGehee says:

    “Got him. Next…?”


  2. Paul says:

    We condemn in strongest possible terms this Israeli crime of assassinating Dr. Rantisi. This is state terror…

    The only kind of terrorism that is acceptable is when we strap explosives to our children and sent them to indiscriminately kill civilians. Not this state sponsored precision stuff.

  3. “If the Israelis keep this up, pretty soon no one is going to want to be in charge of the group.”

    The problem is that the exact opposite is true.

  4. jen says:

    OK, so that means that Israel is content to take them out one at a time. Whatever works…

  5. Attila Girl says:

    The leaders don’t want to die–they send kids out to die for them. If they continue to be targeted, they may send out fewer and fewer kids to kill innocent civilians as they watch their numbers dwindle.

  6. McGehee says:

    Muddy, how about we revise the statement:

    “If the Israelis keep this up, pretty soon no one is going to be alive to be in charge of the group.”

    Works for me.

  7. Wow, you guys have really changed my mind. We should just continue to encourage, fund, and supply Israel toward the new goal of killing every Palestinian. They’re not a real people anyway, right?

  8. McGehee says:

    If you honestly believe it’s going to take “killing very Palestinian” to stop the terror, I guess we might as well stop trying to talk sense with you.

  9. Are you addressing me McGehee? You’re the one who said it “works for you” to simply keep killing anyone who would lead Hamas. Such a statement indicates a willful ignorance of why Hamas exists in the first place, and so I guess maybe our versions of “talking sense” cannot coincide.

  10. McGehee says:

    Hamas exists to destroy Israel. Both Yassin and Rantisi said so.

    In your previous comment you said “killing every Palestinian.” Now you say “killing anyone who would lead Hamas.” Do you not see the distinction?

  11. McGehee says:

    And why do they want to destroy Israel?

    (I know you haven’t asked that yet, Muddy, but I’m trying to save us all some time.)

    They hate Jews. They’ve hated Jews since long before the State of Israel was established. The Grand Mufti, a relative of Yasser Arafat, was an ally of the Nazis, and a supporter of Hitler’s program to exterminate the Jews.

    Which was before the modern State of Israel existed.

  12. Look, we’re not as far apart on Hamas as it might seem, but we need to acknowledge the fact that the State of Israel was established by displacing 750,000 Palestinians to create a refuge for 500,000 Jews who were essentially unwanted by Europe. Both groups can lay legitimate historical claims to the land, but Zionists (predominantly Christian) are unwilling to accept this.

    Based on our inability to treat Palestinians as a legitimate “people,” what we have now is a type of “kill the Muslims” rhetoric that is simply not working — and in fact is pushing moderate Muslims into the Islamist/fascist camp. And there are simply too many of them to just kill them all.

  13. Dave says:

    You realize that there was no Palestinian state, that “Palestine” was basically a name on a map for most of the last 2000 years and nothing more, and most of those 750,000 are people the Jordanians, Syrians, and so forth sent in to try to colonize the Jews out of existance?

  14. It is irrelevant that there was no proclaimed Palestinian state; a Palestinian people existed and they were forced off their land in order to create the state of Israel. This is the root of the problem, and Americans aren’t even aware of this side of history.