Hamas ‘shocked’ by Saudi call on Qatar to halt funds
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Hamas ‘shocked’ by Saudi call on Qatar to halt funds

Terror group expresses ‘deep regret and disapproval,’ rejects Saudi claim that it ‘undermines the Palestinian Authority’

Palestinians ride a donkey-pulled-cart past residential units funded by Qatar in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, June 6, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / SAID KHATIB)
Palestinians ride a donkey-pulled-cart past residential units funded by Qatar in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, June 6, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / SAID KHATIB)

Hamas expressed shock on Wednesday over Saudi Arabia’s demand that Qatar end its support for the Palestinian Islamist terror group as tensions flared between Gulf Arab states.

Saudi Arabia and its allies cut off ties with Qatar on Monday after accusing the gas-rich state of supporting extremism across the region.

On Tuesday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that to rebuild relations, Doha must cut its support for “extremist” groups, including Hamas.

He said Qatar-supported Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, “undermines the Palestinian Authority.”

Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir speaks to the press on current events and challenges in the Middle East, in Paris, June 6, 2017. (AFP /JACQUES DEMARTHON)
Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir speaks to the press on current events and challenges in the Middle East, in Paris, June 6, 2017. (AFP/Jacques Demarthon)

In a statement on its website, Hamas said the party felt “deep regret and disapproval” at the Saudi statement.

“These statements are a shock to our Palestinian people and to our Arab and Islamic nation, which considers the Palestinian cause its central cause,” the statement said.

Hamas swept Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006 but remains blacklisted as a terrorist group by the European Union and the United States.

The Islamist movement seized Gaza in a near civil war with forces loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas in 2007. The two factions have been at loggerheads ever since.

Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, left, and Gaza's Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh, right, arrive for a cornerstone laying ceremony for Hamad, a new residential neighborhood in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, October 23 (photo credit: AP/Mohammed Salem)
The former Qatari Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, left, and Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh, right, arrive for a cornerstone-laying ceremony for Hamad, a new residential neighborhood in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, October 23, 2012. (AP/Mohammed Salem)

Hamas has fought three wars with Israel since 2008, tunneling under the border and firing thousands of rockets into Israel, and is avowedly committed to destroying the Jewish state. Israel maintains a security blockade on Gaza, designed to prevent the terror group from importing weapons.

Qatar has provided tens of millions of dollars for the reconstruction of Gaza since the last conflict with Israel in 2014.

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