CNN BREAKING NEWS
Israeli Warplanes Fire on House in Gaza City
Aired September 10, 2003 - 05:02 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: To that breaking news now. Just about 90 minutes ago, Israeli warplanes fire on a house in Gaza City. It was the house of a senior Hamas leader.
To our Chris Burns now, live in Gaza City -- Chris, describe the scene for us.
CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Carol, a very chaotic scene. An Israeli F-16 dropped a bomb on the house of Mahmoud Zahar, who is a senior political leader of the Hamas group. He was injured moderately, but he's in stable condition. However, his son and bodyguard were the two people killed, two confirmed killed, although there are also some 20 others injured, five critically. And among those injured is the wife of Mr. Zahar and a daughter of Mr. Zahar, this being yet another message from the Israeli government that the gloves are off and they're going after not only the militant wing of Hamas, but also the political wing.
This just comes a couple of days after the spiritual leader of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, was targeted in another Israeli bombing here in Gaza. Yassin managed to escape with minor wounds. But, again, the Israelis waging this what they call all out war against the militants. On the other hand, the militants vowing that Israel has opened the gates of hell for increasing its, stepping up its targeted attacks, as they call them. The Palestinians call them just all out assassinations, of some dozen different Hamas officials, although their operations have killed a number of other Hamas officials.
This cycle of violence about two and a half weeks old, as there was a bombing, a bus bombing in Jerusalem that killed 22 people. At the same time, Hamas abandoned its unilateral cease-fire, saying the Israelis were disregarding it and going after its people and killing them nevertheless.
So this cycle of violence also taking a political toll within the Palestinian Authority, where the government here is under serious disarray. The prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, for whom President Bush had very, very high hopes for the peace process, for his road map to peace, resigned, throwing up his hands, blaming everybody, the Palestinians, the Israelis and the Americans, for not doing enough to push ahead with this road map for peace.
Will the new prime minister, who, if he does take power, will he be able to get all sides to cooperate? That is the question. Abu Ala is asking for cooperation from all sides. Will he get it? That is the big question as the violence intensifies -- Carol. COSTELLO: Yes, having said all that, you've got to believe that the road map is gasping for air right now, if it's alive at all. And what can be done by any side of this? Can the United States come in and do anything?
BURNS: Well, Carol, that is the big question. The Palestinians are asking for the Americans to place more pressure on the Israelis to push ahead with confidence building measures, lifting the closure on the Palestinian cities, releasing more prisoners, scrapping some of those settlement outposts. The Israelis saying they would not be satisfied by any cease-fire unless the militants are disarmed altogether.
And this is where it's very much at a deadlock and at loggerheads. And the big question is, yes, where will the U.S. enter in with it?
At stake is that road map for which President Bush has staked his, some of his political stakes on it. So really he needs to see that move ahead. How will he do it? I'm glad I'm not paid to do that -- Carol.
COSTELLO: Me, too.
Chris Burns reporting live from Gaza City this morning.
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