Hamas condemns bin Laden killing

May 2, 2011 at 1:37 PM
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GAZA, May 2 (UPI) -- Hamas officials in Gaza Monday condemned the U.S. attack that killed al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden.

The Islamist Hamas is classified as a terror organization by the United States and the European Union, but forms the government in the Gaza Strip.

Ismail Haniyeh, leader of the Hamas government, called the killing by a U.S. special operations team in Pakistan Sunday night a "continuation of the United States policy of destruction," The New York Times reported. Hamas lawmaker Ismail al-Ashqar, in a statement, called the killing "state terrorism that America carries out against Muslims."

The statement said the United States could have arrested bin Laden and put him on trial.

The Times said the Hamas condemnation was surprising. Hamas forces stormed a building in Gaza two weeks ago where al-Qaida-inspired extremists accused of kidnapping and killing a pro-Palestinian Italian activist were hiding, killing two and arresting the third.

Wednesday, Hamas is expected to sign a preliminary reconciliation deal in Cairo with its rival Fatah, the government in the West Bank.

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