Israels spy agency Mossad and the country's special forces have carried out a number of assassinations of Palestinian in the past and have also been blamed for killings which the Jewish state has never publicly taken responsibility for. In addition, the army and air force have carried out so-called 'targeted killings of numerous Palestinian leaders accused of masterminding attacks inside Israel. One of the highest profile assassinations was the 1988 killing of Khalil al-Wazir, widely known as Abu Jihad, who had been a co-founder of Yasser Arafats Fatah movement. He was killed in his home with his family in Tunis when a hit squad from the Israeli armys elite Sayeret Matkal, travelling with fake Lebanese passports, burst in as he was watching the news of the Palestinian uprising on the television. In 1997, Israeli agents also tried to assassinate Khaled Meshaal, a senior member of Hamas political bureau, in his office in Amman at a time when the Islamist group was carrying out suicide bombings inside Israels cities. One of the agents who had infiltrated his office sprayed a powerful nerve agent into his ear, but one of his bodyguards helped Jordanian authorities track down the assassins. They were arrested and held until Binyamin Netanyahu, who was then in his first term as prime minister, agreed to hand over the antidote. One of the most successful assassinations attributed to Israel, but which it has never acknowledged publicly, was the death of Imad Mughniyah, the head of Hezbollahs armed wing and the worlds most wanted terrorist before Osama bin Laden carried out the September 11 2001 attacks. He had been behind deadly attacks against Jewish organisations in Argentina and had transformed the Lebanese militia into the most successful guerrilla group in the Arab world. Israeli and other western spy agencies had been trying to kill him for years when he died in a mysterious explosion In his car in Damascus in 2008. Israel has also carried out a series of air strikes that killed Hamas leaders, including a rocket attack on the home of the groups founder and spiritual leader, the quadriplegic Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in Gaza in 2004, and then killed his successor, Abdelaziz al-Rantissi, in an almost identical strike just four weeks later. (The Times)