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Tuesday, 31 July, 2001, 19:50 GMT 20:50 UK
Profile: Hamas activist Jamal Mansour
Jamal Mansour
Jamal Mansour: A purely political leader, says Hamas
Jamal Mansour was a popular leader of Hamas' political wing in the West Bank.

The building in which he died, in an Israeli army helicopter attack, housed the office of a research centre headed by Mr Mansour.

Nablus attack
Investigators point to where Israeli missiles struck
He is believed to have been the main target of the attack which killed seven other Palestinians, including two children, in the West Bank town of Nablus.

Israel called the strike "a preventative measure" aimed at a group of senior Hamas activists they say are behind a wave of anti-Israeli attacks.

Israel said Mansour was part of the Hamas leadership responsible for attacks against Israeli including the 1 June suicide bombing of a Tel Aviv disco that killed 21 people.

Hamas has insisted that the 42-year-old Mansour had no military role in the organisation.

In and out of jail

Jamal Mansour, married and a father of four children rose to prominence as a student leader at the University of Al-Najah, near Nablus on the back of his radical Islamic beliefs.

In 1992, Israel deported Mansour along with more than 400 Palestinians from Hamas and its rival Islamic Jihad to Marj al-Zouhar in Southern Lebanon.

Upon his return, he was imprisoned several times by Israel - spending more than five years in Israeli jails in total.

Burning tyres in Gaza
Palestinian anger shows no signs of abating

Mansour also clashed with Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority over Hamas' violent opposition to the 1993 Oslo peace accords with Israel.

After the Oslo agreement, like many Hamas activists, Mansour spent at least two years in a Palestinian prison.

He was released shortly before the latest Palestinian intifada, or uprising, began in September.

Palestinians say that more than 40 activists have been killed as part of Israel's self-declared policy of eliminating prominent militants since then.

Prior to his death, Mansour had warned that Israel was going to "intensify its hits and use new tactics in order to make the largest number of Palestinian victims."

See also:

03 Apr 01 | Middle East
Israel's 'assassination policy'
30 Jul 01 | Middle East
Israeli helicopters attack Gaza police
30 Jul 01 | Middle East
Fatah: Cornerstone of Arafat's power
30 Jul 01 | Middle East
Analysis: Jerusalem's familiar refrain
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