Rantissi defiant in hospital after attack
GAZA CITY (CNN) -- The Hamas militant who survived an Israeli missile strike Tuesday called the action "real terror that should be condemned" and said there can be "no peace" as long as Israel occupies Palestinian lands.
"I say to the world no peace with occupation," said Abdel Aziz Rantissi, speaking in an interview with CNN from a hospital bed in Gaza. "Occupation contradicts peace. If they want security, the tragedy of the Palestinians should be ended."
Palestinians believe Israel was targeting Rantissi for assassination. A woman and a bodyguard were killed and about 25 people were wounded in the strike on a busy street. (Full story)
Rantissi said he received light wounds and is in "good health." He said a missile from the helicopter "bombarded" his car while his son was driving.
Israeli security sources say Rantissi is head of the military wing in Hamas. He is publicly known as a leader in the political wing, although he has consistently opposed negotiations with the Palestinian Authority for any type of cease-fire.
Israeli security sources say Rantissi determines the policy of attacks within the Hamas leadership and operates terror cells in both Gaza and the West Bank.
The sources said comments Rantissi has made in recent days include praise for a suicide attack in Iraq against U.S. soldiers, opposition to the road map, support of jihad and refusal to participate in a government "whose establishment is based on Oslo and the recognition of Israel."
Rantissi had harsh words for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, saying the government's actions have caused the deaths of civilians in "cold blood."
Hamas last week backed out of talks with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas for a cessation of violence, pointing to its disappointment with the result of the peace summit in Aqaba, Jordan.
Rantissi said Abbas said one thing to Hamas behind closed doors and another to U.S. President George W. Bush and Sharon.
"So we found that the dialogue it will lead to nothing, and so we said that Mr. Abbas closed the chance for dialogue."
Over the weekend, Hamas was one of the three militant groups that claimed responsibility for an attack that killed four Israeli soldiers -- an attack in which Israeli government sources said Rantissi was directly involved.
Rantissi was asked if Hamas will now target Israeli civilians.
"You are asking the victim, 'are you gonna be targeting civilians?' I am sorry this question is unacceptable to be answered."
But he added that when Israel stops its "occupation" and "detention," then "we are ready to stop targeting what they call civilians."