Ziad Al-Bandak visits Birkenau.
Adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Ziad Al-Bandak, visits Birkenau part of the former German Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Photo by AP
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Gaza's ruling party, Hamas, has criticized a Palestinian official for visiting a memorial at the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz and paying respects to its 1.5 million victims there, most of them Jews.

Hamas official Fawzi Barhoum, expressing the Islamic militant group's position, claimed Wednesday that the Holocaust "is a big lie." He said last week's visit to the Auschwitz by Ziad al-Bandak, an adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, went against Palestinian public opinion. Abbas and Hamas are political rivals.

Some 6 million Jews were killed in the German Nazi genocide during World War II, including in Auschwitz in Nazi-occupied Poland.

Many Palestinians fear that if they acknowledge the Holocaust, they will diminish their own suffering, including their uprooting during Israel's 1948 creation and decades under Israeli occupation.