Gaza City (Palestinian Territories): Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas accused US President Donald Trump on Monday of smearing the name of Palestinian “resistance” to Israeli occupation during a speech on Islam.
Addressing Muslim leaders in Riyadh on Sunday, Trump called for unity against “Islamic terror”, specifically naming Hamas and the Islamic State group.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum said Trump’s remarks were “aimed at besmirching the reputation of the Palestinian resistance”.
The movement refused to be treated as a “terrorist” organisation, he told AFP.
Senior Hamas official Mushir al-Masri said Trump was “aligning himself with the policies of the (Israeli) occupier”.
In his speech, Trump called on Muslim leaders to confront “the crisis of Islamic extremism and the Islamists and Islamic terror of all kinds”.
He specifically named Sunni jihadist groups IS and Al-Qaeda and Lebanon’s armed Shiite movement Hezbollah alongside Hamas.
Hamas used force to seize control of the Gaza Strip from secular Palestinian rivals in 2007 after winning an election.
It is considered a terrorist organisation by the United States, the European Union and Israel, with which it has fought three wars in the Gaza Strip since 2008.
Trump arrived in Israel Monday and is due to hold talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later in the day.
He is to meet Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas Tuesday as he seeks ways to restart moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.