Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, on Monday denounced the U.S. killing of Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
“We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior,” Haniyeh told reporters, according to Reuters. “We regard this as a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood.”
His words were likely to do nothing for the reputation of the Islamist party, which popularized suicide bombings against Israel and is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union. Ironically, Hamas has battled more radical Islamic groups in the Gaza Strip in recent years.
For its part, Hamas’ chief rival, the Palestinian Authority, which rules the West Bank, hailed Bin Laden’s death.
“Getting rid of Bin Laden is good for the cause of peace worldwide, but what counts is to overcome the discourse and the methods -- the violent methods -- that were created and encouraged by Bin Laden and others in the world,” Palestinian Authority spokesman Ghassan Khatib said, according to Reuters.