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Israel kills Hamas leader

GAZA CITY, April 17 (UPI) -- The Israeli army confirmed it killed Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantissi in an attack on his car in a Gaza suburb Saturday.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan condemned the assassination a short time later, saying "extra-judicial killings are violations of international law."

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The White House chose not to criticize the latest action although a spokesman said the United States has not endorsed any policy of assassinations.

The BBC cited witnesses as saying Abdel Aziz Rantissi was driving his car in a Gaza suburb as an Israeli helicopter fired missiles.

In a statement issued in Tel Aviv, the army spokesman said the Israel Defense Forces targeted a car carrying "Rantisi, who is directly responsible for the killing of scores of Israelis in numerous terror attacks."

The attack comes less than a month after Israel killed the previous leader of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin.

Rantisi's son and bodyguard died with him.

His killing comes hours after a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up at a crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army said.

An Israeli border policeman was killed and three others were injured in the earlier explosion, BBC reported.

The militant Hamas group and the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claimed joint responsibility for that attack, the first since Yassin's death.

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