US: Hamas mourning of bin Laden death is 'outrageous'

State Dept. official slams group for calling al-Qaida leader "holy warrior"; Hague says would have been "better" if Hamas welcomed killing.

White House 311 (photo credit: courtesy)
White House 311
(photo credit: courtesy)
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. "
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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 process."
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 internal differences.
Reuters contributed to this report.