While many Middle East leaders welcomed America’s military action, the mixed reaction across the region cast a shadow over both the “Arab Spring” and the future of talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Many Arab leaders facing popular uprisings, including Col Gaddafi of Libya, have claimed the protests are backed by al-Qaeda. Those claims have largely been rejected by protest groups but many in the West are concerned at the possibility that greater freedom of expression will allow more room for Islamic militants to operate.
The Hamas prime minister of the Gaza strip, Ismail Haniya, said: “We condemn the assassination of a Muslim and Arab warrior and we pray to God that his soul rests in peace.
“We regard this as the continuation of the American oppression and shedding of blood of Muslims and Arabs.”
The Hamas reaction put it immediately at odds with Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority, with which it is due to sign a unity deal today to join the Palestinian government.>>>
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