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Khalil al-Wazir was widely believed to have been killed in the 1988 Tunisia raid, but this is the first time Israel has publicly admitted responsibility.
Khalil al-Wazir, the former deputy to late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, was killed in a 1988 Israeli raid on Tunisia — and for the first time in 25 years, Israel has admitted to being responsible for his murder.
Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot reported on Thursday that Arafat's number two, better known by his nom de guerre "Abu Jihad," was killed by Mossad and Sayeret Matkal, the Israeli Defense Force's most elite unit, according to the Jerusalem Post.
"I shot him with a long burst of fire," said Nahum Lev, the late commando who killed Walid, in a declassified interview published by Yediot. "I was careful not to hurt his wife, who had showed up there. Abu Jihad was involved in horrible acts against civilians. He was a dead man walking. I shot him without hesitation," the Associated Press reported.
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Abu Jihad was a longtime friend and deputy to Arafat, and was instrumental in organizing the intifada against Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories from 1987 to 1994, Agence France Presse reported.
Colonel Jibril Rojoub, leader of the Fatah movement, told NBC News that Israel's admission to Wazir's death was “not news, the Palestinian people always knew that Israel was behind this assassination."
“This proves that Israel is an outlaw country, and this proves that all Israeli leaders belong in the ICC [International Criminal Court],” Rojoub added.
The IDF has yet to comment on the story, BBC News reported.
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