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July 12, 2006
Chickens Come Home To Roost In Gaza

One of the most-sought Hamas leaders suffered major injuries in a bomb strike by the IDF in Gaza today. Mohammed Deif, who had coordinated suicide attacks in Israel by Hamas, will likely be a paraplegic if he survives the attack at all:

A Hamas militant leader who has topped Israel's most-wanted list for a decade was badly wounded and underwent four hours of spinal surgery Wednesday after an Israeli F-16 warplane dropped a quarter-ton bomb that killed nine members of one family, security officials said.

The top fugitive, Mohammed Deif, could end up paralyzed, Palestinian security officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss his condition. Wednesday's blast marked the army's fourth attempt to kill Deif, held responsible for suicide bombings in Israel. In a 2002 missile strike, he lost an eye. ...

Israel's air force targeted the two-story house of Nabil Abu Salmiyeh, a Hamas activist and university lecturer, after getting intelligence information that the leaders of Hamas' military wing, responsible for the abduction of the soldier, were meeting there. Palestinian security officials said seven or eight top Hamas officials were present.

The blast wounded 37 people, three critically, said Health Minister Bassem Naim. Hospital officials said Raed Saad, a top Hamas operative, was among the wounded, but details of his condition weren't released.

Israel is not playing around this time. The attack on Salmiyeh's house shows that the gloves have come off, probably for good. Israel wants to use this mission to eradicate as much of the terrorist leadership as it can find. In this case, they came close to killing at least two high-level Hamas members, and neither may survive the attack.

Israel will likely get criticized for bombing the house of a Palestinian professor, but that shows that Israel takes this seriously as a war and not just a reconnaisance in force. Whereever the enemy meets to plan military and terrorist actions automatically becomes a fair target in wartime. Salmiyeh and his family died because he put them all at risk by making their home a Hamas headquarters.

Terrorists force us to choose between victory or capitulation by exploiting our natural revulsion at the death of non-combatants. In fact, that impulse led to the Geneva Conventions in the first place -- to protect civilians from military action. That is why those conventions should not apply to terrorists who deliberately target noncombatants and then hide among them to avoid retribution. Civilians who willingly hide such terrorists in the manner as Salmiyeh bring the war onto themselves willingly.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 12, 2006 4:45 PM

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