Hamas, officially categorized a terrorist organization by the U.S. and the European Union, responded viciously at the Saudi paper referring to their delegation visiting Tehran as, “Terrorist Hamas attends the inauguration of the Iranian president.”
Hamas launched a blistering attack against one of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent newspapers on Saturday after the pro-government daily Al-Riyadh published a headline that described the Islamist group as a terror organization.
“Terrorist Hamas attends the inauguration of the Iranian president,” the newspaper headlined its story about a delegation from the group’s political bureau who visited Tehran on the weekend for the swearing-in ceremony of President Hassan Rouhani.
Their tweet of the story – later deleted – was picked up and shared approvingly by Avichay Adraee, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman for Arabic media.
Hamas was not amused, swiftly releasing a statement expressing “serious condemnation for describing us a terrorist organization”.
“These serious accusations are harmful and insulting to our people’s resistance and courageous strife towards liberation and they only serve our nation’s foes and target the Palestinian cause; the central cause for the Arab and Islamic nations,” the statement on their website continued.
“We call on these accusations to be stopped since they are alien to the longstanding Saudi positions which have long been supportive of the Palestinian people.”
Hamas is officially deemed a terror organization by the United States, the European Union and most Western states.
Tensions between the Islamist Palestinian faction that rules the Gaza Strip and the Sunni powerhouse of Saudi Arabia have ratcheted up in recent months after Riyadh imposed a diplomatic and economic blockade on neighboring Qatar, and made the cessation of support for Hamas one of their key demands in return for lifting it.
Shortly afterward, a group of Hamas leaders who were residing in the Qatari capital Doha abruptly departed.
Hamas has also moved to patch up ties with Saudi Arabia’s chief foe, Iran.
The group was similarly peeved when earlier in July, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Algeria also described it has a terror organization.
In recent years Israeli leaders have hinted loudly that they are cultivating covert relationships with Sunni states like Saudi Arabia, united in their mutual enmity toward Iran, the region’s dominant Shia power.
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