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Former Israeli PM slams assassination bid on Hamas leader
( 2003-09-08 14:43) (Agencies)

Former Israeli prime minister and Labour opposition leader Shimon Peres said Sunday that an assassination bid against Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmad Yassin was likely to escalate tensions.

"We must be prudent when deciding to carry out important attacks as when I was prime minister I have gave the green light for the liquidation only of people who were ticking bombs," he told public radio.

"It is necessary to act against Hamas which represents a catastrophe for Israel and the Palestinians but only in a way that does not provoke a further escalation."

Sheikh Yassin was slightly injured in a raid in Gaza on Saturday as he met with other senior officials from the radical Palestinian group.

Peres approved the assassination of Hamas military chief Yehya Ayache in January 1996, who was killed by a bomb rigged up to his mobile phone. His killing followed a series of attacks by Hamas in Israel which left dozens of people dead.

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