Nizar Rayan: with the virgins
Rockets into Israel from Gaza? That didn’t escalate anything. Only Israel can escalate the campaign. “Israel kills top Hamas figure, escalating campaign,” by Ibrahim Barzak And Amy Teibel for Associated Press, January 1 (thanks to all who sent this in):
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israel dropped a one-ton bomb on the home of a Hamas strongman Thursday, killing him along with two wives and four children in the first attack on the top leadership of Gaza’s rulers. As the aerial bombardment escalated, the army said it was also poised to launch a ground invasion. Israel also appeared to be sounding out a possible diplomatic exit from the 6-day-old military offensive against Hamas by demanding international monitors as a key term of any future truce.
The bombing targeted 49-year-old Nizar Rayan, ranked among Hamas’ top five decision-makers in Gaza. His four-story apartment building crashed to the ground, sending a thick plume of smoke into the air and heavily damaging neighboring buildings. It killed Rayan and 11 others, including two of his four wives and four of his 12 children, Palestinian health officials said. The Muslim faith allows men to have up to four wives.
Israel has made clear that no one in Hamas is immune in this offensive, and the strike that flattened Rayan’s apartment building in the northern town of Jebaliya drove that message home.
“We are trying to hit everybody who is a leader of the organization, and today we hit one of their leaders,” Israeli Vice Premier Haim Ramon said in a television interview.
Hamas leaders went into hiding before Israel launched the offensive on Saturday, but Rayan was known for openly defying Israel, and the military said he had a tunnel under his house that could serve as an escape route.
A professor of Islamic law,
…apparently, therefore, another Misunderstander of Islam…
Rayan was closely tied to Hamas’ military wing and was respected in Gaza for donning combat fatigues and personally participating in clashes against Israeli forces. He sent one of his sons on an October 2001 suicide mission that killed two Israeli settlers in Gaza….