Hamas slams killing of 'holy warrior' Osama bin Laden
Comments by Hamas Gaza Strip leader Ismail Haniyeh come after a spokesman of the West Bank-ruling Palestinian Authority said bin Laden's death could advance the cause of peace.
The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas on Monday condemned the killing by U.S. forces of Osama bin Laden and mourned him as an "Arab holy warrior."
"We regard this as a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood," Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip, told reporters.
Though he noted doctrinal differences between bin Laden's al-Qaida and Hamas, Haniyeh said: "We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior. We ask God to offer him mercy with the true believers and the martyrs."
Haniyeh's reported comments came following an earlier remark by a Palestinian Authority spokesman who said Monday the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. forces was "good for the cause of peace".
"Getting rid of Bin Laden is good for the cause of peace worldwide but what counts is to overcome the discourse and the methods -- the violent methods -- that were created and encouraged by Bin Laden and others in the world," PA spokesman Ghassan Khatib said.
The PA's comments came following an announcement by U.S. President Barack Obama late Sunday, saying that bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader who masterminded the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States is dead and the U.S. had recovered his body,
Representatives from Hamas and Fatah announced last week their intention to reconcile, after a four-year-long bitter and at times violent rift, which saw Hamas administering the Gaza Strip and the West Bank under the control of the Fatah dominated Palestinian Authority.
Palestinian officials said on Friday that Egypt has invited Palestinian leaders to Cairo for the signing of the reconciliation agreement which is scheduled to take place on Wednesday.