Tuesday, April 13, 2004

I've been catching up with some of my contacts in the Middle East and discussing the fact that Hamas still hasn't carried out an attack to avenge the assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

After his killing, an associate of Sheikh Yassin warned that "the enemy should expect a response that will turn the ground under his feet to hell," while the Sheikh's successor Abdel Aziz Rantisi said that "the retaliation of this nation, will be of the size of this man." (Source: Haaretz) Yet three weeks on there's -- mercifully -- been no sign of Hamas turning its words into deeds.

There are reports from the Gaza Strip of Hamas organisers going door to door collecting money to carry out a strike against Israel. They're said to have raised many thousands of dollars for the purpose.

There's no doubt that the retaliation will come. The feeling in the Middle East, though, is that the time it is taking in coming is a clear sign of just how weakened Hamas is. It's believed to be having real difficulties in putting together a spectacular terrorist atrocity because so many of its key operatives have been killed or imprisoned.



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