Palestinian Freedom Fighter Killed
Israeli military forces assassinated, late yesterday evening, the Secretary General of the Palestinian Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), Jamal Abu Samhadana, 43, in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younes, fueling an already volatile situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, and threatening to provoke violent response by the PRC, a coalition of the military wings of the various Palestinian political factions, which Abu Samhadana had established and led since the outbreak of the current Intifada in September 2000.
Abu Samhadana had been also appointed by the Hamas-led Palestinian government last April as a senior Interior Ministry security official, a move which was met with condemnation from both Israel and the US, in addition to serious criticism by the Palestinian Presidency, most notably PLO Chairman and PA President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), who viewed the appointment as a challenge to his own mandate.
Israelís assassination and extrajudicial killing of senior Palestinian political figures and activists has become standard policy since September 2000, and was repeatedly condemned by the international community as an illegal practice by the state of Israel, particularly in cases where innocent and unarmed civilian bystanders have been killed or injured in the attacks.
Israelís murder of Abu Samhadana is expected to have dire repercussions on the current situation, particularly at a time in which the Palestinian leadership is already tangled in internal Palestinian political strife. The attack has been deeply condemned by the Palestinian government; the Cabinet Secretary, Ghazi Hamad, said "Israel knows that Abu Samhadana works in the government and by killing him they are sending a message that all its members, from the prime minister to junior employees, are targets for death."