IMAGE: Ismail Haniyeh
Abid Katib  /  Getty Images
Hamas leader and Palestinian prime minister-designate Ismail Haniyeh meets with relatives of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails during a visit to Gaza City on Monday.
updated 3/7/2006 9:35:33 AM ET 2006-03-07T14:35:33

Israel’s defense minister said Tuesday that the Islamic militant Hamas group’s prime minister-designate, Ismail Haniyeh, is not immune from an Israeli targeted killing.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told Israel’s Army Radio that Israel’s policy of pinpointed killings has proven to be effective, and will continue.

“There is no question about its efficacy,” Mofaz said. “Look what happened to Hamas in the years it conducted an untrammeled suicide bombing war against us. When we started the targeted killings, the situation changed.”

“We will continue the targeted killings at this pace,” he added. “No one will be immune.”

Hamas, the militant Islamic group sworn to Israel’s destruction, swept January parliamentary elections and is in the process of forming a Cabinet. It has rejected international calls to renounce its violent and anti-Israel ideology, but has maintained a year-old moratorium on suicide bombings.

Asked if Hamas’ prime minister-designate would be a target if Hamas were to resume its attacks on Israel, Mofaz responded: “If Hamas, a terror organization that doesn’t recognize agreements with us and isn’t willing to renounce violence, presents us with the challenge of having to confront a terror organization, then no one there will be immune. Not just Ismail Haniyeh. No one will be immune.”

Salah al-Bardawil, a Hamas spokesman, denounced Mofaz’s comments.

“This statement and Israeli practices on the ground reflect the bloody, inhumane and inflammatory character of the Zionist enemy,” al-Bardawil said. “We are not seeking immunity or mercy from Israel. We are in a confrontation. The side that is most steadfast is the side that will survive.”

On Monday, two Islamic Jihad militants and three Palestinian bystanders were killed in an Israeli pinpoint attack in Gaza City. Two of those killed were children.

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