A leading Hamas preacher on Friday defied a new order by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank to stop talking politics in mosques, instead taunting his Fatah rivals in his weekly sermon.
In the West Bank city of Nablus, Maher Kharas, a Hamas leader, railed against America, Israel and Palestinian moderates. He delivered his sermon at the al-Khadra mosque in the old city of Nablus, where Israeli troops earlier in the day wrapped up a raid against wanted Palestinian terrorists.
"Israel soldiers invaded Nablus for two days. Where is the government to defend the old city? Where is the government that demanded the dismantling of the armed brigades?" he said. "America will be defeated in Iraq and the believing Muslims will come here victorious."
On Thursday, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad had warned Islamic preachers that he would not tolerate calls for violence delivered from mosque pulpits and would collect militants' weapons.