Hamas's reference to Osama bin Laden as a "holy warrior" is "outrageous," a US State Department official said on Tuesday, slamming the group for mourning the death of the al-Qaida leader.
"Osama bin Laden was a murderer and terrorist who ordered the killings
of thousands of innocent men, women, and children – many of them Muslim," the official said. "He did not die a martyr, he died hiding in
luxury place far away from the violence that was carried out in his name. "
Fatah armed wing rues bin Ladens death:
Hamas denounces killing of a ‘Muslim
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Monday condemned the killing of bin Laden, whom he hailed as a Muslim mujahed [warrior] and Arab human being. He also told reporters in Gaza City that the killing of bin Laden came in the context of the United States’ policy of killing and repression.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague expressed similar sentiments, and condemned Hamas for its comments.
Hague told the British parliament that he believed united voices welcoming the killing would help the stalled Middle East peace process.
"It would assist that cause if it was possible to show across many
different divides in the world a good deal of unity about what happened
on Sunday night and the removal of the author of some of the world's
greatest terrorist acts from the scene," AFP quoted the foreign
secretary as saying. "It would have been better for Hamas to join the
welcome to that. That would have been a boost in itself to the peace
Earlier Tuesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to step away from a unity deal with Hamas.
"The agreement between Abu Mazen and Hamas deals a tough blow to the
peace process. How can peace be reached with a government in which half
of it calls to destroy Israel and even praises mass-murderer Osama bin
Laden?" Netanyahu said.
Palestinian leaders have defended the unity agreement, saying
reconciliation with Hamas reflects a deep-seated public desire to end
Reuters contributed to this report.