Hamas to Iraq: `Use suicide bombers against the U.S.'
By Arnon Regular
Ha'aretz - 12 Jan:
Thousands of Hamas supporters marched in the Gaza Strip on Friday to protest against any war with Iraq, and leaders urged Baghdad to use suicide bombers against the United States.
During the rally, in which senior members of the radical Islamic Palestinian organization took part, Abd al-Aziz al-Rantisi, a leading member of the organization's political wing called on the Iraqi government to "be patient and trust in God." Rantisi continued: "Mobilize thousands of suicide [bombers] and prepare explosive belts for them and explode them on the invaders and their allies."
The rally began with a procession from the Jebaliya refugee camp and passed by the homes of some of the militants of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam, the military wing of the Hamas, who were killed in clashes with the IDF.
The rally of an estimated 10,000 supporters was held to protest "the Anglo-American aggression against the Arab and Islamic nation." Rantisi, the leading supporter of the more extremist line in the organization, described the rally as "an outburst of the Arab and Islamic peoples intifada to rescue the Iraqi nation."
"Hamas stands to the side of Iraq and the Iraqi nation in the war declared against them by the American aggressor. This is an intifada that rebels against the weakness and the capitulation that characterizes the Arab capitals," Rantisi said.
The rally was scheduled to undermine the Palestinian Authority's efforts to meet an American request to harness the activities of the Arab Liberation Front. The ALF has direct links with the Iraqi ruling party, the Ba'ath, and is responsible for the distribution of tens of thousands of dollars to families suffering intifada related casualties. The group provides the funds as a direct contribution to the Palestinians from Saddam Hussein.
The actions of the PA against the ALF were greeted with rage by Palestinians in Gaza and according to reports many of the participants at the Hamas rally are not direct affiliates of the organization.
Rantisi also called on the Arab and Islamic states to counter "a crusade" by "setting the oil wells ablaze under the American tyrants."