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The founder and leader of the Hamas terrorist organization, Ahmed Yassin, was killed today in the northern Gaza Strip. Yassin was the leader and mentor of Hamas in the territories, and the authorizing and initiating authority for all Hamas terrorist attacks emanating from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Although he was not a religious authority, many named him "Sheikh Yassin," for his status as leader of Hamas.
The perception that Yassin was the "political" leader and left the management of terrorist activities to others is incorrect. In fact, there is no differentiation between the "political" and "military" wings of Hamas. Yassin, himself, often authorized and encouraged attacks and strongly preached against Israel.
Yassin was arrested twice by Israel: While under arrest by the ISA in 1984, Yassin stated during questioning that he had founded an organization of religious activists with the goal of fighting non-religious factions in the territories, and carrying out "jihad" operations against Israel. This organization used funds from Islamic activists in Jordan in order to acquire large quantities of weapons. Yassin was imprisoned and subsequently released within the framework of a prisoner release agreement in May 1985.
In 1989, Yassin ordered Hamas to kidnap Israeli soldiers inside Israel, to murder them and bury their bodies in a manner which would allow Hamas to negotiate the exchange of bodies for Hamas prisoners, who would be released from jails in Israel.
Yassin was arrested after the abduction and murder of IDF soldier Ilan Sa'adon, and the discovery of the body of IDF soldier Avi Sasportas, who was also abducted and murdered. Yassin was tried in Israel and received two life sentences for his involvement in these attacks.
In 1989, Saleh Shade, appointed by Yassin, admitted during questioning by the ISA to the establishment of a terrorist element within Hamas. Yassin was also arrested and confirmed in interrogation, that he himself ordered the establishment of a military element within the organization, and approved the drafting of terrorists as well as the carrying out of terrorist attacks.
After his release from prison in October 1997, Yassin again became involved in Hamas terrorist operations. His involvement included directing terrorist attacks in the field and providing financial assistance to terrorists.
Yassin tried many times to present himself simply as a political leader not involved terrorist activities. Many of Yassin's interviews in the media serve as evidence that the exact opposite is true, and that he supported and directed terror.
After the suicide bombing on January 14, 2004, at the Erez crossing in which Reem Raiyshi detonated herself, interviews of Yassin were aired on many media, and displayed his satisfaction with the execution of the attack. Yassin especially justified the use of a woman in order to carry out the attack and said, "Hamas views women as the reserve force... when the military wing of the Hamas saw it necessary to use a woman to carry out an attack, it did so."
Yassin was the senior authority in the decision making process for carrying out terrorist attacks, and was the main address in all matters concerning the determining the policy for terrorism. He was viewed as a highly admired and charismatic persona serving as a main factor in attacks against Israel.