GAZA (Reuters) - The Hamas group that controls the Gaza Strip on Saturday issued a condemnation of the deadly attacks by Islamist gunmen in France this week, saying there was no “justification for killing innocents”.
The Palestinian Islamist faction, which is designated as a terror organization by most Western countries, also challenged Israel’s “helpless attempts” to draw comparisons between its activities and the violence in France.
In the worst assault on France’s homeland security for decades, 17 victims lost their lives in three days of violence that began with an attack on the Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper on Wednesday and ended with Friday’s dual sieges at a print works outside Paris and a kosher supermarket in the city.
“(Hamas) stresses that its position on the latest events in Paris is in line with the statement issued by the International Union of Muslim Scholars which condemned the attack on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper and that any differences in opinion are no justification for killing innocents,” Hamas said in a rare statement in French.
Islamist Gaza militants led by Hamas, whose charter includes a pledge to destroy Israel, fought a 50-day war against Israeli forces which ended in August.
According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, more than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed. Sixty-seven Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel were also killed.
Hamas added in its statement that Israelis should be tried for war crimes and condemned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “helpless attempts” to draw parallels between “the resistance of our people from one side and the terrorism across the world in the other side.”
The Palestinians will formally become a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on April 1, when the court could exercise jurisdiction over war crimes committed by anyone on Palestinian territory, without a referral from the U.N. Security Council.
Israel is not a member of the Hague-based ICC but its citizens could be tried for actions taken on Palestinian land. Palestinians could also be liable for prosecution for actions against Israelis.
On Friday, the leader of Lebanon’s Shi’ite group Hezbollah said the attacks in France had done more harm to Islam than any cartoon or book, a reference to the attack on Charlie Hebdo.
Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Rosalind Russell