Ahmed Yassin


Ahmed Yassin

Infobox Person
name = Ahmed Yassin


image_size = 200px
caption = Photograph of Ahmed Yassin taken on March 19, 2004
birth_date = 1937
birth_place = Al-Jura
death_date = Death date|2004|3|22
death_place = Gaza City

Sheikh Ahmed Ismail Yassin (1937 – March 22, 2004)cite web
url= http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/yassin.html
title= Sheikh Ahmad Yassin
accessdate= 2008-04-06
year= 2004
publisher= Jewish Virtual Library
quote= Ahmed Yassin's Palestinian passport listed his date of birth as January 1, 1929, but Palestinian sources listed his birth year as 1937 (other Western media reported it as 1938).
] (Arabic: _ar. الشيخ أحمد ياسين) was the co-founder, with Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, of Hamas, a Palestinian paramilitary organization and political party. Yassin served as the spiritual leader of Hamas, an Islamist Palestinian group which has claimed responsibility for a number of suicide attacks targeting Israeli civilians, and which has often been characterized by western states as a terrorist organization.cite web
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/middle_east/2001/israel_and_the_palestinians/profiles/1695470.stm
title = Sheikh Yassin: Spiritual figurehead
accessdate = 2007-08-07
date = March 22, 2004
publisher = BBC Online
]
*Canada - [http://www.psepc.gc.ca/prg/ns/le/cle-en.asp#hhi18 Keeping Canadians Safe] , Public Security and Emergency Preparedness Canada, National Security, Listed entities. Accessed July 31, 2006.
*European Union-- [http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/lex/LexUriServ/site/en/oj/2005/l_340/l_34020051223en00640066.pdf "Council Decision"] Council of the European Union, December 21, 2005
*Israel-- [http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFAArchive/2000_2009/2003/7/The%20Financial%20Sources%20of%20the%20Hamas%20Terror%20Organiza The Financial Sources of the Hamas Terror Organization] (Israel MFA)
*Japan-- [http://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/other/bluebook/2005/ch3-a.pdf Japan's Diplomatic Bluebook 2005] states that it has frozen the assets of "terrorist organizations, including... Hamas."
*United States-- [http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/65463.pdf "Country reports on terrorism 2005"] , United States Department of State. Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism. US Dept. of State Publication 11324. Released April 2006
*Banned in Jordan--Karmi, Omar. [http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=5&article_id=22307# "What does the Hamas victory mean for nearby Jordan?"] , "The Daily Star", February 18, 2006
*Australia lists the militant wing of Hamas, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, as a terrorist organization-- [http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/agd/www/nationalsecurity.nsf/AllDocs/95FB057CA3DECF30CA256FAB001F7FBD?OpenDocument Listing of Terrorist Organisations] , Australian Government Attorney-General's Department, 27 January 2006. Accessed July 31, 2006.
*United Kingdom lists the militant wing of Hamas, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, as a terrorist organization-- [http://security.homeoffice.gov.uk/legislation/current-legislation/terrorism-act-2000/proscribed-terrorist-groups?version=1" United Kingdom Home Security Office. Terrorism Act 2000. Proscribed terrorist groups] ]

Yassin, a paraplegic who was nearly blind, had been confined to a wheelchair since a sporting accident at the age of 12.cite web | url = http://islam.about.com/b/a/073913.htm | title = islam.about.com | accessdate = 2007-06-18 | publisher = ] He was assassinated by an Israeli helicopter gunship in 2004.cite web
url = http://english.aljazeera.net/English/archive/archive?ArchiveId=2639
title = The life and death of Shaikh Yasin
accessdate = 2007-08-07
date = March 25, 2004
publisher = Al Jazeera
] His killing, in an attack that claimed the lives of as many as nine bystanders, precipitated much criticism of Israel, as many observers abroad suggested that the act would negatively impact the peace process. 200,000 Palestinians attended his funeral procession.Prusher, Ilene R. [http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0323/p01s04-wome.html Killing of Yassin a Turning Point] . "The Christian Science Monitor". March 23, 2004. ]

Early life

Ahmed Yassin was born in al-Jura, a small village near the town of Majdal (today Ashkelon City) in then British Mandate of Palestine. His date of birth is not known for certain: according to his Palestinian passport, he was born on 1 January 1929, but he claimed to have actually been born in 1938. He and his family moved to Gaza after his village was destroyed in 1948 during Israel's War of Independence.

Yassin came to Gaza as a refugee. When he was 12, a sports related injury left him quadriplegic and forced him to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

Yassin studied at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, following secondary school. Islamist and Pan-Arab movements were strong influences at the University. Yassin joined the Muslim Brotherhood during his studies at Al-Azhar. [ [http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/yassin.html Sheikh Ahmad Yassin ] ]

Involvement in the Israel-Palestinian conflict

Yassin subsequently became involved with a Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. In 1987, during the First Intifada, Yassin co-founded Hamas with Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, originally calling it the Palestinian Wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, and becoming its spiritual leader.

Yassin opposed the peace process between the Palestinians and the Israelis. He supported armed resistance against Israel, and was very outspoken in his views. He asserted that Palestine is an Islamic land "consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgment Day" and that no Arab leader had the right to give up any part of this territory. Yassin's rhetoric did not distinguish between Israelis and Jews, at one point stating that "Reconciliation with the Jews is a crime." [ cite interview
last = Yassin
first = Ahmed
subjectlink = Ahmed Yassin
program = "Filastin al-Muslimah"
year = 1995
month = March
as quoted incite web
url = http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/2885
title = Hamas Takes "Revenge"?
accessdate = 2007-09-30
last = Passner
first = Deborah
date = October 28, 2003
publisher = Israel National News
] Yassin's inflammatory rhetoric was often scrutinized in the news media.Poole, Elizabeth and Richardson, John E. "Muslims and the News Media". 2006, page 112.] On one occasion, he opined that Israel "must disappear from the map". Yassin's declaration that "We chose this road, and will end with martyrdom or victory" later became an oft repeated mantra among Palestinians. [ [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=407397&contrassID=1&subContrassID=5&sbSubContrassID=0&listSrc=Y Security forces on heightened terror alert - Haaretz - Israel News ] ]

In 1997 Yassin was released from Israeli prison as part of an arrangement with Jordan following the failed assassination attempt of Khaled Mashal, which had been conducted by the Israeli Mossad in Jordan. Yassin was released by Israel in exchange for two Mossad agents who had been arrested by Jordanian authorities, on the condition that he refrain from continuing to call for suicide bombings against Israel.

Following his release, Yassin resumed his leadership of Hamas. He immediately resumed his calls for attacks on Israel, using tactics including suicide bombings, thus violating the condition of his release. He also sought to maintain relations with the Palestinian authority, believing that a clash between the two groups would be harmful to the interests of the Palestinian people. Yassin, however, was repeatedly placed under house arrest by the Palestinian authority. Each time he was eventually released, often after extended demonstrations by his supporters.Fact|date=June 2007

Yassin criticized the outcome of the 2003 Aqaba summit. His group initially declared a temporary truce with Israel. However, in July 2003, the truce unravelled after Israeli forces killed two Hamas members in retaliation for the suicide bombing of a Jerusalem bus that left 21 people dead.

On September 6, 2003, an Israeli Air Force (IAF) F-16 fired several missiles on a building in Gaza City, the Gaza Strip. Yassin was in the building at the time but survived. Israeli officials later confirmed that Yassin was the target of the attack. His injuries were treated at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Yassin responded to the media that "Days will prove that the assassination policy will not finish the Hamas. Hamas leaders wish to be martyrs and are not scared of death. Jihad will continue and the resistance will continue until we have victory, or we will be martyrs."cite web | url = http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/09/06/mideast.violence/ | title = cnn.com | accessdate = 2007-06-18 | publisher = ]

Yassin further promised that Hamas would teach Israel an "unforgettable lesson" as a result of the assassination attempt.cite web | url = http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/s940813.htm | title = abc.net.au | accessdate = 2007-06-18 | publisher = ] Yassin made no attempt to guard himself from further attempts on his life or hide his location. Journalists sometimes visited his Gaza address and Yassin maintained a routine daily pattern of activity, including being wheeled every morning to a nearby mosque.

Reem Raiyshi's suicide bombing at the Erez crossing on January 14, 2004, which killed four civilians, was believed by the Israeli military to have been directly ordered by Yassin. Yassin suggested that the suicide bomber was fulfilling her "obligation" to make jihad, [ [http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2001837056_mideast15.html The Seattle Times: Nation & World: Palestinian mother is suicide bomber in attack at border ] ] and Israel's Deputy Defence Minister responded by publicly declaring that Yassin was "marked for death". [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3402753.stm BBC NEWS | Middle East | Sheikh Yassin denies attack role ] ] Yassin denied having any involvement in the attack's planning.

Alleged involvement in terrorist attacks

Yassin was a founder and prominent leader of Hamas, which is regarded as a terrorist organization by many national governments. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon characterized Yassin as "the "mastermind of Palestinian terror" and a "mass murderer". The Israeli government repeatedly asserted that Yassin was responsible for a number of terrorist attacks, which targeted and killed a number of civilians. [ [http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFAArchive/2000_2009/2004/3/Behind%20the%20Headlines-%20Ahmed%20Yassin%2022-Mar-2004. Behind the Headlines: Ahmed Yassin 22-Mar-2004 ] ] They accused him of being behind all the attacks perpetrated by Hamas against Israel. According to an Israeli government website:

Yassin was the dominant authority of the Hamas leadership, which was directly involved in planning, orchestrating and launching terror attacks carried out by the organization. In this capacity, Yassin personally gave his approval for the launching of Qassam rockets against Israeli cities, as well as for the numerous Hamas terrorist bombings and suicide operations. In his public appearances and interviews, Yassin called repeatedly for a continuation of the 'armed struggle' against Israel, and for an intensification of the terrorist campaign against its citizens. The successful operation against Yassin constitutes a significant blow to a central pillar of the Hamas terrorist organization, and a major setback to its terrorist infrastructure. [ [http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Templates/ArticleDynamicFix.aspx?NRMODE=Published&NRORIGINALURL=%2fMFA%2fTerrorism-%2bObstacle%2bto%2bPeace%2fTerrorism%2band%2bIslamic%2bFundamentalism-%2fSheikh%2bYassin%2bkilled%2bin%2bIDF%2battack%2b22-Mar-2004%2ehtm&NRNODEGUID=%7b2B09115D-4DE6-47A2-96E4-ECCB2FCC8F03%7d&NRCACHEHINT=Guest IDF strike kills Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin (MFA)] ]

Assassination

Ahmed Yassin was killed in an Israeli attack on March 22, 2004. While he was being wheeled out of an early morning prayer session, an Israeli helicopter gunship fired Hellfire missiles at Yassin and both of his bodyguards. They were killed instantly, along with nine other bystanders.cite web | url = http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0403/S00292.htm | title = scoop.co.nz | accessdate = 2007-06-18 | publisher = ] The reports also indicate that more than a dozen people were injured in the operation, including two of Yassin's sons. The operation was a part of an ongoing Israeli action against Hamas-sponsored operations.

Israel said the targeted killing was in response to dozens of suicide attacks by Hamas against Israeli civilians, and meant to thwart further attacks on Yassin's orders. Yassin's supporters, as well as various heads of state, condemned the assassination.

The Israel Defense Forces issued the following statement regarding the operation:

:This morning, in a security forces operation in the northern Gaza Strip, the IDF targeted a car carrying the head of the Hamas terror organization, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, and his aides. Yassin, responsible for numerous murderous terror attacks, resulting in the deaths of many civilians, both Israeli and foreign, was killed in the attack. [ [http://edition.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/03/22/yassin/index.html Thousands mourn Hamas founder (CNN)] ]

Reaction to assassination

Kofi Annan, UN General secretary, condemned the killing.cite web | url = http://domino.un.org/unispal.NSF/eed216406b50bf6485256ce10072f637/cb710ee41effd1ef85256e6000501683!OpenDocument | title = domino.un.org | accessdate = 2007-06-18 | publisher = ] The UN Commission on Human Rights passed a resolution condemning the killingcite web | url = http://domino.un.org/unispal.nsf/eed216406b50bf6485256ce10072f637/8bae3e0b4870ce9185256e610075e22d!OpenDocument | title = domino.un.org | accessdate = 2007-06-18 | publisher = ] supported by votes from 31 countries including the People's Republic of China, India, Indonesia, Russia, and South Africa with 2 votes against and 18 abstentions. The Arab League council also expressed condemnation, cite web | url = http://domino.un.org/unispal.nsf/eed216406b50bf6485256ce10072f637/029fa086fb91031885256e680074212a!OpenDocument | title = domino.un.org | accessdate = 2007-06-18 | publisher = ] as did the African Union.cite web | url = http://domino.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/99818751a6a4c9c6852560690077ef61/df19a9217edaf7ac85256e7b0066a9cb!OpenDocument | title = domino.un.org | accessdate = 2007-06-18 | publisher = ]

A draft resolution condemning the extrajudicial execution of Yassin and six other Palestinians, as well as all terrorist attacks against civiliansUN document |docid=S-2004-240 |type=Document |body=Security Council |year=2004 |document_number=240 |accessdate=2007-09-13|date=24 March 2004] was brought before the United Nations Security Council and vetoed by the United States, with United Kingdom, Germany, and Romania abstaining. [ UN document |docid=S-PV-4934 |body=Security Council |type=Verbotim Report |meeting=4934 |page=3 |anchor=pg003-bk03 |date=25 March 2004 |meetingtime=17:05 |accessdate=2007-09-13 ] The United States explained that the draft resolution should have condemned Hamas explicitly following its sponsored suicide bombings in Ashdod the week before. [ UN document |docid=S-PV-4934 |body=Security Council |type=Verbotim Report |meeting=4934 |page=2 |anchor=pg002-bk10 |date=25 March 2004 |meetingtime=17:05 |speakername=John Negroponte | speakernation=United States |accessdate=2007-09-14 ]

Palestinian

The Palestinian Authority declared three days of mourning and closed Palestinian schools. Hamas official Ismail Haniyeh suggested, "This is the moment Sheikh Yassin dreamed about". The Hamas leadership said Ariel Sharon had "opened the gates of hell." Hamas called for retaliation against Israel. About 200,000 people took to the streets of the Gaza Strip for Yassin's funeral as Israeli forces declared a national alert.

Abdel Aziz Rantisi was announced as the new head of Hamas. At a memorial service for Sheik Yassin, he declared that "The Israelis will not know security... We will fight them until the liberation of Palestine, the whole of Palestine." [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C04E1DB1430F937A15750C0A9629C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1 After Sheik Is Slain, Hamas Picks Fiery Figure as Its Leader in Gaza - New York Times ] ] Publicly addressing the "military wing" of Hamas, Rantisi suggested, "The door is open for you to strike all places, all the time and using all means." Rantissi was himself assassinated by Israel on April 17, 2004.

Israeli

Shaul Mofaz, the Israeli Defense Minister, branded Yassin "the Palestinian bin Laden" and said, "If we have to balance how many more terrorists Yassin would have sent, how many terror attacks he would have approved, if we weigh this on the scales, we acted rightly".

Avraham Poraz, Israel's Interior Minister and member of the centrist Shinui Party, said he believed the assassination of Yassin "was a bad idea because I am afraid of a revenge coming from the Palestinian side, from the Hamas side." [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3557451.stm Israel defiant over Yassin killing] . "BBC News". Monday, 22 March, 2004] Shimon Peres, then leader of the Labour opposition, was critical of the assassination, suggesting that it "could lead to an escalation of terror".

An informal survey by the BBC suggested support for the attack from Israelis.

Arab

Jordanian King Abd Allah II described the assassination as a "crime".

Lebanon's president Emile Lahud vehemently denounced the Israeli act. "Israel has committed a crime but will not succeed in liquidating the Palestinian cause, for the resistance is going to increase."

In Kuwait, Prime Minister Shaikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah said: "Violence will increase now because violence always breeds violence."

The head of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Muhammad Akif, described Yasin as a "martyr" and his assassination a "cowardly operation."

Western

Jack Straw, then British Foreign Secretary, said: "All of us understand Israel's need to protect itself - and it is fully entitled to do that - against the terrorism which affects it, within international law. But it is not entitled to go in for this kind of unlawful killing and we condemn it. It is unacceptable, it is unjustified and it is very unlikely to achieve its objectives." [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3556753.stm BBC News: Blair condemns Hamas chief death] ]

In response to a question about the killing on 23 March 2004, U.S. President George W. Bush responded,

As far as the Middle East, it's a troubled region, and the attacks were troubling. There needs to be a focused, concerted effort by all parties to fight terror. Any country has a right to defend itself from terror. Israel has the right to defend herself from terror. And as she does so, I hope she keeps consequences in mind as to how to make sure we stay on the path to peace. [ [http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/03/20040323-5.html President Discusses Economy and Terrorism After Cabinet Meeting ] ]

US ambassador to Iraq John Negroponte stated that the USA was "deeply troubled", and characterized Yassin as "the leader of a terrorist organization [...] who preached hatred, and glorified suicide bombings of buses, restaurants, and cafes." [ [http://www.usembassy.it/viewer/article.asp?article=/file2004_03/alia/a4032408.htm U.S. Mission to Italy ] ]

Notes and references

External links

* Reports on death
** [http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Terrorism-+Obstacle+to+Peace/Terrorism+and+Islamic+Fundamentalism-/Sheikh+Yassin+killed+in+IDF+attack+22-Mar-2004.htm "IDF strike kills Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin"] (Israeli MFA)
** [http://www.paktribune.com/news/index.php?id=59063 "Hamas' spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin killed in Israeli gunships airstike"]
** [http://www.jerusalemites.org/news/english/mar2004/22.htm "Sharon was after the Yassin's murder"]
** [http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0403/S00292.htm "Assassination of Sheik Yasin Opened Pandora's box"]
** [http://www.ict.org.il/spotlight/det.cfm?id=971 "Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin killed in Israeli airstrike"] (Institute for Counter-Terrorism)
** [http://www.guardian.co.uk/flash/0,5860,1175454,00.html Interactive Guide: Sheikh Yassin assassination] - [http://www.guardian.co.uk The Guardian]
* Profiles of Yassin
** [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/1695470.stm BBC Obituary]
** [http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,1175854,00.html?79%3A+International+news+-+guardian Guardian Obituary]
** [http://www.ict.org.il/documents/documentdet.cfm?docid=63 Ahmed Yassin, leader of Hamas terrorist organization] (Institute for Counter-Terrorism)

* UN Response
** [http://www.iht.com/articles/512112.html U.S. vetoes a UN resolution condemning Israel for killing]


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Look at other dictionaries:

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