Dozens of Palestinians pay tribute to bin Laden in Gaza
Rally includes al-Qaida sympathizers as well as students opposed to bin Laden's ideology but angry at U.S. for killing him; Hamas police refrain from interfering with the demonstration.
Some two dozen Palestinians gathered in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday to pay tribute to slain al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
About 25 people holding pictures and posters of bin Laden rallied outside a Gaza City university. The crowd included al-Qaida sympathizers as well as students who said they opposed bin Laden's ideology, but were angry at the U.S. for killing him and consider him a martyr.
Hamas police did not interfere with the demonstration.
On Monday, Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of Gaza's Hamas government, condemned the U.S. operation against bin Laden, whom he hailed as a Muslim and Arab 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.