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Israeli Investigation into 2002 Targeted Killing Finds Action Justified

A panel appointed by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to investigate the 2002 targeted killing of a Hamas leader in which 13 civilians died has concluded that those ordering the attack on Salah Shehadeh bear no personal responsibility. The panel was empowered following an appeal to Israel’s High Court of Justice by left wing activists who demanded that the prime minister, defense minister, army chief-of-staff, and air force commander be found legally liable for the civilian deaths. The committee report, which was presented to Prime Minister Netanyahu on Sunday, said that the “"targeted killing against Shehadeh was imperative because of the increase and escalation in terrorist attacks since 2000, in a manner which led to a situation of actual war, classified as an ‘armed conflict.’" Shehadeh was known to be responsible for the production of rockets, the smuggling of arms to Hamas forces inside of the Gaza Strip and for masterminding attacks against Israeli civilian targets. The assassination came more than one year into the violent period that became known as the “Second Intifada.” It continued into 2006 and during that time, more than 1100 Israelis and 6,500 Palestinians would die in the violent conflict that became typified by bus bombings and suicide bombers.