Hamas Mourns Death of Al Zarqawi in 'Savage Crusade Campaign'.
By Reuters & YnetNews.com
The ruling Palestinian faction Hamas on Thursday deplored the killing by U.S. warplanes of the al Qaeda leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, describing him as a casualty of a crusade against Arabs and Muslims.
Hamas had distanced itself in the past from violence abroad blamed on al Qaeda, but in a statement faxed to Reuters after Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. air strike north of Baghdad on Wednesday, it said it mourned the Jordanian-born insurgent as a "martyr of the (Muslim Arab) nation".
"With hearts full of faith, Hamas commends brother-fighter Abu Musab ... who was martyred at the hands of the savage crusade campaign which targets the Arab homeland, starting in Iraq," the statement said.
On a visit to Pakistan, Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar of Hamas said Palestinians are "blessing every effort to eliminate the existence of occupation" in Iraq. "We are dead sure that assassination of any of the people who are resisting will not ... end the resistance," Zahar said at a press conference in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.
As news of the death al-Zarqawi filtered through jihadist internet forums, many members of radical organizations expressed "joy" at what they described as Zarqawi's 'martyrdom' and imminent 'wedding' with virgins.
Sheikh Omar Bakri, a top pro al-Qaeda jihadist preacher who is based in Lebanon, and who has a number of disciples in Britain, was quoted by one of his followers on the UK-based Muntadaa internet forum as saying that al-Zarqawi is now being 'married' to virgins in heaven, the fate he said awaited 'martyrs' of Islam.