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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

International Outrage at Yassin's Death

CAIRO, Egypt -- Demonstrations erupted across the Middle East in condemnation of Israel's assassination of the spiritual leader of the militant Palestinian group Hamas on Monday. Arab and EU governments said the strike had scuttled any prospect of reviving the peace process. Islamic groups vowed revenge, with Mohammed Mahdi Akef of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood warning: "There can be no life for the Americans and Zionists [Israelis] in the region."

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak -- a principal player in the peace process -- told reporters the missile attack on the quadriplegic Yassin was "a savage act." Asked how it would affect the peace process, Mubarak replied: "What peace process when the situation is on fire?"

Israeli helicopter gunships killed Yassin as he was being wheeled out of a mosque near his home in Gaza at dawn Monday. The missile strike killed seven other people and wounded 17.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Yassin was an "archterrorist" involved in the killing of hundreds of Israelis. He added Israel had the right "to hunt down those who rise to destroy it."

While the United States, Japan and Australia called for calm, Britain and European nations condemned the killing as an affront to international law.

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat declared three days of mourning and said the Israelis had "crossed all red lines." Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia called the killing "one of the biggest crimes that the Israeli government has committed."

Alexander Yakovenko, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, said that the current situation is "fraught with a new wave of violence that may undo efforts to revive talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis."

"Russia will continue making active efforts to help advance the road map," Yakovenko said in a statement released by the ministry. He added that a Russian envoy was in the region coordinating peace efforts.

Mubarak canceled plans for Egyptian legislators to take part in a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty in the Israeli parliament on Tuesday. The treaty was the first between Israel and an Arab state. Jordan's King Abdullah II, another important broker in the peace process, said the killing "annoyed and pained" him. It was "a crime" that would lead only to more violence.

Jordanian Prime Minister Faisal al-Fayez said the killing jeopardizes the peace process as it will "escalate the circle of violence and instability in the region and will lead to more bloodshed."

Syrian President Bashar Assad condemned it as "the climax of terrorism that Israel is continuously practicing."

The foreign ministers of Jordan and Syria changed their schedules to fly to Cairo for urgent talks on the killing with their Egyptian counterpart, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said. Arab Gulf states called on the world to "press Israel to halt its terrorist operations and to end the occupation of the Palestinian and Arab territories." Their statement was issued by the Gulf Cooperation Council, which groups Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

In Saudi Arabia, Islamist lawyer Mohsen al-Awaji said Yassin's legacy would be an unstoppable movement: "Ahmed Yassin left behind him a school that all regimes and religious institutions are powerless to resist or contain."