Targeted Assassinations

Also known as "targeted killings." A premeditated killing of an individual by a state or military actor outside of a judicial system and off the battlefield. Though the tactic was employed by Israel since the 1970s, its use of targeted assassinations of "wanted" men in the Occupied Palestinian Territories increased greatly during and since the Second Intifada. 425 Palestinians were killed in this manner between 2000-2011, including 174 civilian bystanders, amounting to 41% of those killed. The most infamous series of Israel’s targeted assassinations abroad took place following the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics. More recently and more locally, Israel has dropped bombs to kill leaders of Palestinian militant organizations, including Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin in 2004, Hamas leader Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi in 2005 and Mohammed Nimnim of the Army of Islam in 2010. Palestinian militant groups have also used targeted assassinations, although far less frequently. The tactic is criticized for the level of civilian casualties it can produce and also for the lack of due process in bringing the accused to justice. See "Israel’s ‘targeted Killings," BBC, April 17, 2004. See also "Extra-Judicial Executions as Israeli Government Policy," Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, August 2008.

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