Mashaal vows release of Ze'evi's killers

Hamas head: We will do what our people need whether it angers Israel or not.

rehavam zeevi 298.88 (photo credit: GPO)
rehavam zeevi 298.88
(photo credit: GPO)
Hamas Leader Khaled Mashaal said on Friday that the new Hamas-led Palestinian parliament would release the assassins of former tourism minister Rehavam Ze'evi from the Jerico jail where they have been incarcerated for the past four years. The five convicts, including Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Secretary-General Ahmad Sa'dat, were being held under Palestinian supervision, along with American and British jailers. Asked about Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz's warnings against any moves to release the murderers, Mashaal said, "Israel always threatens and makes assurances, but it does not scare us. We will do what our people need whether it angers Israel or not." Rehavam Ze'evi was assassinated at Jerusalem's Hyatt Hotel by the Palestinian assailants on October 17, 2001. It was the first Arab assassination of an Israeli minister. The PFLP said the assassination was carried out in retaliation for the killing of its leader, Abu Ali Mustafa, by missiles fired from an IAF helicopter in August 2001. The assassins had found sanctuary in Yasser Arafat's Mukata compound in Ramallah, but were transferred to Jericho after the IDF besieged the area. Hamdi Koran, the assassin who actually pulled the trigger, was sentenced to 18 years in prison with hard labor, while Basel al-Asmar received 12 years, Majdi Rimawi eight years and Ahed Gholami one year. Sa'dat has been in prison for three years although he was never put on trial.