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US express concern

Last updated: 2004-03-23

Sheikh Ahmed Yassin

Sheikh Ahmed Yassin

The US State Department says it is "deeply troubled" by Israel's killing of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher stopped short of condemning the killing on Monday, but said the move will not help efforts to pursue peace in the Middle East.

In a separate statement, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said all parties in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should exercise restraint.

Meanwhile, the Islamist Al-Ansar web site published a statement purporting to be from an al-Qaida-linked group vowing retaliation for Sheikh Yassin's death. The statement by the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades calls for attacks against the United States and its allies.

Also on Monday, Arab leaders condemned the killing. Jordan's King Abdullah called it a crime that will only fuel more violence. Syrian President Bashir al-Assad called it an "ugly crime."

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak says the killing ended hopes for the Middle East peace process, and warned it will have grave consequences throughout the Islamic world. Iran, Kuwait, Yemen, Algeria, Lebanon and Libya also denounced the attack.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Javier Solana, the European Union's Foreign Policy Representative, both said the killing will not help lead to Middle East peace.

Story supplied by VOAnews