RAMALLAH Ñ After a ban that lasted nearly a year, the Palestinian
Authority has approved rallies in support of Iraq and against the United
The rallies include the burning of the U.S. flag and calls for
Palestinians to join Iraq in any war with the United States. The rallies
have been addressed by members of the ruling Fatah movement as well as those
from the Islamic opposition.
On Friday, a Hamas leader urged thousands of supporters to join Iraq in
confronting the United States. Hamas leader Abdul Aziz Rentisi told a
pro-Iraqi rally in the Jabalya refugee camp north of Gaza City that they
should be prepared to serve as suicide attackers against the U.S. military.
"I call on Iraq to prepare an army of would-be martyrs and prepare tens
of thousands of explosive belts," Rentisi said. "Blow yourselves up against
the American army. Bomb them in Baghdad. I call on all Arab nations to burn
the ground underneath the feet of the Americans in all capitals."
Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin also expressed Palestinian support for Iraq.
In a message on Hamas's website, Yassin called on Palestinians to help
Baghdad kill U.S. soldiers who invade Iraq.
PA Chairman Yasser Arafat is regarded as an ally of Iraqi President
Saddam Hussein. Saddam has sent about $20 million to Palestinian insurgents
over the last year. Much of the money goes to the families of suicide
At the rally on Friday, regarded as the biggest pro-Iraqi demonstration
yet, Palestinians chanted "Death to America" and "Victory from Jerusalem to
Baghdad." They torched British, Israeli and U.S. flags.
Palestinian attacks continued throughout Sunday evening. A Palestinian
insurgency squad infiltrated from the Egyptian border and was killed as it
headed toward an Israeli community in the Negev desert.
In northern Israel, two Palestinian insurgents were killed in an
infiltration attempt of a community near the city of Afula. An Israel was
killed and five border police officers were injured in the clash in Moshav
Gadish. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.