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Hamas threatens Americans during pro-Iraq demonstrations

Special to World
Monday, January 20, 2003

GAZA CITY Hamas has relayed its most specific warning against Americans in the Middle East.

The Hamas threats have been announced in pro-Iraqi demonstrations organized by the movement. The demonstrations were allowed by the Palestinian Authority.

"If Iraq is attacked all American targets will be open targets for every Muslim, Arab or Palestinian," Hamas spokesman Mahmoud Zahar said. "Any attack against Iraq will be answered by resistance everywhere and American interests everywhere will be targeted. We say that all American targets will be open targets to every Muslim, Arab, or Palestinian."

Hamas leader Abdul Aziz Rentisi also warned Americans in the Middle East that they could face attacks by supporters of the movement. He called on Iraq to follow Hamas's example and organize an army of suicide bombers against the U.S. military.

"There is no choice but to set up thousands of secretly operating suicide cells with thousands of explosive belts equipped to cause meaningful results", Rentisi said.

Over the weekend, thousands of Hamas members and other Palestinians held a demonstration in support of President Saddam Hussein. The demonstrators carried Iraqi flags and posters of Saddam in such cities as Gaza City and the West Bank towns of Jenin and Tulkarm.

PA police were at some of the demonstrations. But they did not intervene.

Pro-Iraqi demonstrations have been held regularly over the last month. Most of the demonstrations have taken place in the Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

The PA has hosted Iraqi Solidarity Week, sponsored by the Palestine National Council. Fatah officials have called on Palestinians to participate in the pro-Iraqi rallies.

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