The Palestinian groups said that the US ‘crime’ won’t stop them from pursuing their fight against Israel.
Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and some smaller Palestinian factions on Friday condemned the targeted assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, commander of Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and accused the US of increasing tensions in the region.
The Palestinian groups said that the US “crime” won’t stop them from pursuing their fight against Israel. Hamas and PIJ are the two major Palestinian factions which have long been closely affiliated with Soleimani and Iran.
Leaders of the groups have visited Tehran on a regular basis over the past few years and met with Soleimani and senior Iranian officials. The Palestinian Authority did not immediately comment on the pre-dawn US raid that killed Soleimani in Iraq.
PA officials in Ramallah had previously accused Tehran of meddling in the internal affairs of the Palestinians and supporting Hamas’s rule over the Gaza Strip. In a statement, Hamas offered condolences to the Iranian people over the death of Soleimani and said he played a “prominent role in supporting the Palestinian resistance in various fields.”
The statement continued: “As Hamas mourns the commander Soleimani and the martyrs of the American raid, it also extends its condolences to the Iraqi people for the martyrdom of a number of their sons as a result of the treacherous American raid.”
Hamas warned that the US would “bear responsibility for the bloodshed in the region because of its aggressive actions, which are fueling conflicts without any regard for the interests and stability of the peoples.”
In a separate statement, PIJ also expressed condolences to Iran’s leaders and people over the death of Soleimani. The statement praised the slain Iranian general as a “unique leader” and “great supporter” of the Palestinians. PIJ said that the assassination of Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq, “reflects US cowardly crimes” and “bias” in favor of Israel.
The group said that the killing of the two top commanders would not hamper its struggle to “liberate Palestine.” Abu Hamzeh, spokesman for PIJ’s armed wing, Al-Quds Brigades, said that Soleimani had, over the past two decades, supervised direct military aid to his group in the Gaza Strip.
“Today, Al-Quds Brigades bids farewell to a jihadi leader who had always instilled terror in the heart of America and the Zionist entity,” Abu Hamzeh said on Twitter.
The PLO’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) denounced the US raid as an “aggression” against Arabs in the region. The group said that the Palestinians won’t “forget the unique and prominent role Soleimani played in supporting their rights and struggle against Israeli occupation.”
THE JERUSALEM POST.