Israel considers resumption of Gaza assassinations

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JERUSALEM — Israel is considering resuming its contentious practice of assassinating militant leaders in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip in an effort to halt intensified rocket attacks on Israel’s south, according to defense officials.

That Israel might renew a practice that brought it harsh international censure is evidence of the tight spot Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in. With Israeli elections two months away, rocket barrages from Gaza are disrupting the lives of 1 million residents of southern Israel, pressuring the government to come up with an effective response.

Advocates say targeted killings are an effective deterrent without the complications associated with a ground operation, chiefly civilian and Israeli troop casualties. Proponents argue they also prevent future attacks by removing their masterminds.

Critics say they invite retaliation by militants and encourage them to try to assassinate Israeli leaders.

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