UNITED NATIONS, March 22 (UPI) -- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan Monday condemned Israel's "targeted assassination" of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, founder and spiritual leader of Hamas.
The 68-year-old quadriplegic was struck by rockets fired from Israeli helicopters as he left morning prayers at the Al Mujama' Mosque in Gaza City in his wheelchair accompanied by bodyguards.
"I do condemn the targeted assassination of Sheikh Yassin and the others who died with him," Annan told reporters.
"Such actions are not only contrary to international law, but they do not do anything to help the search for a peaceful solution. I appeal to all in the region to remain calm and avoid any further escalation in tensions."
Annan said the attack, "Doesn't really facilitate the task of peacemakers," an apparent reference to a meeting in Cairo of the Middle East Quartet,the European Union, Russia, United Nations and United States.