ARAB-US RELATIONS - Feb. 7 - Yassin Urges Muslims To Retaliate.
In an open letter, Hamas spiritual leader Shaikh Ahmad Yassin
instructs Muslims worldwide to retaliate against "Western
interests" if the US makes war on Iraq. He writes: "Muslims
should threaten Western interests and strike them everywhere".
Calling an attack on Iraq part of "a crusader's war"
against Islam by "the envious West and the US first among
them", Yassin urges, "As they fight us, we have to fight
them". He also calls for a boycott of products from the US and its
allies. (Yassin has made similar comments in the past, during rallies
against a war on Iraq. The letter comes as Hamas is already flexing its
muscles within Palestinian society, increasing longstanding tension with
Arafat and his Fatah faction, which is less religious than Hamas, whose
leaders are also widely viewed as less corrupt than senior Fatah
officials. Hamas, which is on the Bush administration's list of
terrorist organisations, recently rejected an effort supported by Fatah
leaders and Egypt to unilaterally declare a limited ceasefire in the
conflict with Israel). In his letter, Yassin repeats his intention to
destroy "this cancer that is called Israel".