Do Targeted Killings Work?

Courtesy Reuters


Salah Shehada lived a violent life. During his last two years, the senior Hamas leader directed up to 52 terrorist operations against Israel, killing 220 civilians and 16 soldiers. And on July 22, 2002, Shehada died a violent death: an Israeli F-16 dropped a 2,000-pound bomb on his apartment building, obliterating it with him inside.

Before deciding to kill Shehada, Israeli officials had first gone to the Palestinian Authority and repeatedly demanded his arrest. When the PA refused, the Israeli government then sought to apprehend him directly. But they gave up after realizing that Shehada lived in the middle of Gaza City and that any attempt to grab him would probably spark a general melee.

It was then that the Israelis decided to kill Shehada. But things still remained complicated; according to Moshe Yaalon, then the chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, Israel had to call off its first eight

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