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Leaders condemn Yassin killing


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CNN's Paula Hancocks reports on the killing of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.
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(CNN) -- World reaction to Israel's killing of Hamas movement leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin has been swift and blunt, with many condemning the action as illegal and a blow to efforts to fight terrorism.

Yassin was killed early Monday in an Israeli missile strike. Seven other people were killed in the attack (Full story)

Ahmed Qorei, Palestinian Prime Minister, in Ramallah:

"The cabinet met today with (Palestinian Authority) President (Yasser) Arafat ... and the issue that dominated all the discussion was about the assassination of a prominent leader of the Palestinians, Yassin, and the way that he was assassinated by the Israeli Apache helicopters and while he was in the early morning praying without even respect to any of the villagers and to the beliefs of the Palestinian people. This was condemned strongly in the meeting, and it's been decided that we will go to the Security Council, the United Nations."

Nabil Abu Rudeneh, Arafat spokesman and adviser, in Ramallah:

"This Israeli policy is against any peace effort. So far, they are ruining every single effort to find or safeguard a political solution.

"There will never be any kind of peace or stability. This crime this early morning in Gaza is a dangerous sign for everybody, and we urge the American administration to interfere immediately to stop this escalation because no one is going to win.

"He (Arafat) is very angry and we, on behalf of the Palestinian people, we urge everybody to understand that the Palestinian people are under heavy escalation from the Israeli government and the Israeli army."

Alon Pinkas, Israeli Consul General to the United States, in Washington:

"It was the right thing to do, as crude as that sounds. He's no spiritual leader. You would think you are talking about Mother Teresa or something is a man that embodies terrorism. He was arrested twice, arrested by the Egyptians to begin with, arrested twice. He's masterminded the brutal killings of children, women, way up in the hundreds. He is a force of incitement, a force of hatred towards Israel, towards America, towards the West, toward the Palestinian mainstream for that matter."

Hasan Rahman, Chief Palestinian Representative to the United States, in Ramallah:

"It is absolutely ridiculous to allege that the man who cannot see, cannot hear and who is on a wheelchair can constitute a threat to the biggest military power in the Middle East and one of the biggest the world. That's absolute nonsense."

Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian President, in Cairo:

"What happened was more brutal than anyone can imagine and it doesn't make sense. This action was not considered, and the result of the actions were also not considered, unfortunately. It is a sorrowful thing. We condemn this aggression because he is one of the political symbols in Gaza. We were putting all our efforts into the peace process. It aborted all the peace process efforts. This will have reactions all over the Middle East, not just there. They did not consider any reactions when they did this dangerous procedure."

Richard Boucher, U.S. State Department spokesman, in Washington:

The administration is "deeply concerned and deeply troubled" about the killing and that it "does not help our efforts to move toward peace."

"There is no doubt of Israel's right to self defense," he said. "At the same time we're deeply troubled by this morning's events in Gaza. ... We've made very clear our position on these targeted killings."

Kofi Annan, U.N. Secretary-General, in New York:

"Such actions violate international law and do nothing to help find a peaceful solution."

Jack Straw, British Foreign Secretary, in Brussels:

"We understand Israel's paramount needs to defend itself, but we also say for Israel to carry the full support of the international community it needs to do so within the boundaries set by international law. It's been the long-standing position of the British government that such targeted killings, assassinations, are out with international law.

"It is very difficult for all countries fighting terrorism to take a measured response in the face of the kind of outrageous terrorism which Israel has suffered. All of us understand that, but a measure of restraint is required and I don't believe Israel will benefit from the fact that this morning an 80-year-old in a wheel chair has been a target of their assassinations."

Javier Solana, EU foreign policy chief, in Brussels:

"The position of the European Union has been consistently a condemnation of ... killings. In this particular case, I think a condemnation ought to be stronger. These types of actions do not contribute at all to create the conditions of peace, the conditions of dialogue, which are necessary at this moment."

Joschka Fischer, German Foreign Minister, in Berlin:

"We are very concerned about the developments. We will observe them very acutely. I am now on the way to Brussels. I am sure that the EU foreign ministers will discuss the current situation. Throughout the day we will also discuss it with our transatlantic-Atlantic partners.

"This is not about fearing something. The situation is as such that all must be done to prevent a further escalation. All sides are called upon to do their part in this effort. At the same time, we are doing everything to pursue a further initiative for the Middle East. However, as said, the current status necessitates a thorough analysis."

Dominique de Villepin, French Foreign Minister, in Brussels:

"France condemns the actions perpetrated against Sheikh Yassin. At a time when it is important to mobilize for the relaunch of the peace process, such acts can only fuel the cycle of violence."

Jan Petersen, Norwegian Foreign Minister, in Berlin:

"It is quite clear that Hamas is a terrorist organization. We certainly condemn the terrorists acts. But in my opinion this, of course, not justify the extra-judicial killing. The killing this morning is something which we condemn."

Asma Khader, Jordanian government spokesman, in Amman:

"We condemn this crime and we find a real obstacle against all political will and efforts to have a sustainable, comprehensive and just peace for all the people of the region."

Hanan Ashwari, Palestinian legislator, in Ramallah:

"There will be, I'm afraid, a very tragic recycle of violence. What more cowardly act than assassinating through the use of missile a helpless man in a wheelchair? What we needed was to introduce a whole new language, a whole new discourse. I'm afraid it will spiral out of control."


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