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Media link Netanyahu to assassination attempt

Israeli media on Friday linked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the botched assassination attempt of a Hamas leader, saying Netanyahu had asked spy masters for a list of Hamas targets abroad after a suicide bombing by Islamic militants.

Israeli opposition legislator Yossi Sarid demanded that parliament investigate what he called the "infantile decision taken by the prime minister."However, Israeli officials kept their silence on the affair.

Canada recalled its ambassador Thursday to protest the use of Canadian passports in the attack last week in Amman, Jordan, on Khalid Mashaal, a leader of the militant Palestinian group Hamas. But that drew only a terse acknowledgment Friday, with Israel's Foreign Ministry saying it regretted Canada's move.

In an interview Friday, Mashaal said the attempt on his life has "destroyed the legendary image of the Mossad," Israel's spy agency.

Israel TV correspondent Alon Ben-David reported that after suicide bombers blew up themselves and 16 other people in Jerusalem on July 30, Netanyahu ordered agents to draw up a target list of Hamas leaders abroad.

The attack on Mashaal, if carried out by the Mossad, would have required approval from Netanyahu, who has been out of the public eye since Wednesday afternoon's start of the Jewish New Year holiday. Normal business in Israel resumes Sunday.

"There will be egg on a lot of faces, from Netanyahu on down," said Benny Morris, who has written on the history of Israel's intelligence community. "It will damage Netanyahu as a prime minister whose judgment cannot be relied upon."

Two men carrying Canadian passports had attacked Mashaal from the back, injecting a toxic substance in his left ear as he entered his office in Amman's upscale Tlaa' Ali neighborhood.