The Aksa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of Fatah, on Tuesday lamented the killing of Osama bin Laden as a “catastrophe” and decried the US soldiers who committed it as “a gang of heretics.”

“The Islamic nation awoke to a catastrophe, the reports of the shahid [martyr’s] death of the sheikh, jihad fighter Osama bin Laden, in a treacherous manner, by the gangs of the heretics and those who stray,” the Aksa Martyrs Brigades said in a statement.

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“If bin Laden had indeed died as a shahid, this would not deter the resistance fighters from the path of jihad against injustice, oppression and occupation in the world.”

The Palestinian news agency Ma’an later released an English translation of the five-paragraph statement that the organization Palestinian Media Watch said differed dramatically from the Arabic original. The translation, PMW said, “hides the Fatah military wing's concluding message about seeking Islamic dominance, and replaces it with a message of ‘peace.’”

On Tuesday evening, Ma’an reported that a spokesman for the Aksa Martyrs Brigades denied issuing the statement, and said it had no plans to comment because bin Laden’s death was unrelated to the Palestinian issue. The original Arabic text was no longer available on the news agency’s website.

PMW said the news agency had removed the segment saying the Islamic nation is “capable of supplying an abundance of new blood into the arteries of the resistance, and is capable of restoring the glory of Islam and the flag of Allah’s oneness.”

Ma’an’s English translation read: “We are ready to sacrifice our lives to bring back peace,” but according to PMW, in the Arabic statement the word “peace” did not appear.

In the translation provided by the press monitoring organization, the statement says: “The path irrigated with the blood of its leaders is the path of victory, Allah willing. If Abu Abdallah [bin Laden] was killed, then he merited the martyrdom which he had sought, and inscribed with his blood the landmarks of jihad, leaving behind an entire generation that follows the path of Sheikh Osama.

“They said: ‘The military wings of the jihad fighters in Palestine and outside of it, who have in the past lost many of their commanders and their men, will not stop. This has only strengthened their determination, their resolve and their loyalty to their shahids, who have turned their words into a reality testifying to their honesty, and which in fact bolsters the drive and the strength of their brothers on the path to victory or martyrdom.

“We say to the American and Israeli occupier: The [Islamic] nation which produced leaders who changed the course of history through their jihad... is capable of restoring the glory of Islam and the flag of Allah’s oneness, Allah willing,” Aksa Martyrs Brigades’ statement concluded.

A poll released this week by the USbased Pew Research Center showed bin Laden as largely discredited among predominantly Muslim nations in recent years. But among the seven Muslim populations studied, support for the terrorist leader was highest – 34 percent - in the Palestinian territories.

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