Skip to comments.Muslim clerics, militant groups support suicide attacks against Israel
Posted on 01/10/2002 5:39:25 PM PST by kattracks
|BEIRUT, Lebanon, Jan 10, 2002 (AP WorldStream via COMTEX) -- Suicide attacks on Israelis are legitimate, according to a conference of Muslim clerics and three militant groups labeled terrorist by the United States that ended here Thursday.
About 130 clerics and scholars from some 30 countries approved a final statement that called for the elimination of the state of Israel, terming it an "illegal" presence on Palestinian land.
"Suicide operations carried out by the holy warriors against the Zionist enemy are legitimate and are based on God's book (the Quran) and the teachings of His Prophet (Muhammad). They constitute the highest rank of martyrdom and lead to (winning) God's satisfaction and paradise," the statement said at the end of the two-day conference held in support of the Palestinian uprising.
The delegates included Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah guerrilla group, and representatives of the militant Palestinian groups, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
On Dec. 21, Hamas leaders in Gaza said they were suspending suicide attacks "until further notice." The move apparently came after negotiations between Hamas and of the Palestinian Authority, which had come under intense U.S. and Israeli pressure to rein in militants.
There was no immediate explanation for the harder line taken by the Hamas delegates to the Beirut conference.
The United States has listed Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah as terrorist organizations.
After the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington, U.S. President George W. Bush has requested all governments to freeze the groups' assets.
Lebanon has promised to cooperate with the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism, but it has rejected the freezing of Hezbollah's assets, saying the group is a legitimate resistance movement against Israel.
The conference also rejected the U.S. labelling of Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad as terrorist, saying "this resistance is the most sacred and noblest phenomenon in our contemporary history."
In their speeches to the Beirut conference, Hamas and Islamic Jihad representatives vowed to continue their attacks on Israel, including suicide bombings.
Hamas claimed responsibility for an attack on an Israeli army post near Gaza on Wednesday that killed four Israeli soldiers.
The conference was hosted by the Islamic Ulama Gathering, a Lebanon-based association of clerics from several Arab and Muslim countries.
By HUSSEIN DAKROUB Associated Press Writer
Copyright 2002 Associated Press, All rights reserved