Israel says it was acting in self-defense when it killed a senior Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official Monday. Palestinian officials are calling it another Israeli assassination and say it represents very discouraging news for the region.
Whether Israel's targeted killing of PLO official Abu Ali Mustafa was in self-defense or not, Palestinians say it will likely lead to more intense violence and greater resolve among their people.
The spokesman for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, or PFLP, is Gawad Akl. "We and the other fronts are going to go on resisting," said Mr. Akl. "We are going to go on resisting until those who occupy our lands leave. Until our people are able to get freedom and establish a country with Jerusalem as its capital."
Mr. Mustafa was the chief of the PFLP, a militant faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The group does not believe in peacemaking with Israel.
The Israeli army says he was the mastermind behind more than a half-dozen car bombings since the Palestinian uprising began last September and said he was engaged in military attacks against Israeli civilians.
PFLP spokesman Gawad Akl told VOA from Syria that the Israeli allegations are false. "The leader, Mustafa, he is a political leader and not a fighter planning for military action against Israel," said Mr. Akl. "The military in the Popular Front is doing this, not Mustafa. So the operation of the assassination of Mustafa does not come in the framework of Israeli defense."
Mr. Mustafa died when Israeli helicopters fired missiles at his office in the West Bank town of Ramallah. He was the leader of the second-largest PLO faction, and the most senior Palestinian leader to be killed in the 11-month uprising.