Israel should have killed Hamas leader in Gaza: party chief

Khaled Meshaal

Israel should have taken advantage of exiled Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal's first visit to the Gaza Strip to kill him, opposition MP and Kadima party leader Shaul Mofaz has said.

"We should have taken advantage of the occasion to slice the head off the serpent. Meshaal deserves to die," Mofaz, also a former defence minister, said in a statement yesterday.

"I would recommend that he pack his bags as quickly as possible and get out of Gaza," he added. "If Israel continues to weaken Abu Mazen (Palestinian

president Mahmud Abbas) and does not deal firmly with Hamas, we will soon see Meshaal in Judaea and Samaria," Mofaz said, referring to the Westbank.

In an unprecedented visit to Gaza, Meshaal on yesterday rejected ceding "an inch" of Palestinian territory to Israel or recognising the Jewish state, in a speech to mark the 25th anniversary of the Islamist group's founding.

On September 25, 1997, agents of Israel's Mossad secret service disguised as Canadian tourists bungled an attempt to assassinate Meshaal on a street in Amman by injecting him with poison.

Three attackers took refuge inside the Israeli embassy, but two were captured by Jordanian authorities.

Meshaal fell into a coma and a furious King Hussein demanded that Israel hand over the antidote if it wanted the captured agents to be freed.

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