A previously unheard of Palestinian Muslim cleric recently issued a religious ruling calling for the killing of Hamas members.
Sheikh Shaker Al-Hiran, who appears to be linked to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement, backed up his ruling with an article titled "The Common Characteristics of Hamas and the Jews," which was published by Saudi and Palestinian newspapers. In it he argued that Hamas' struggle with the "legitimate rulers" in Fatah had put it at odds with mainstream Islam.
Al-Hiran slammed Hamas for allegedly cooperating with non-Muslims in its battle against fellow Muslims in Fatah. Hamas and Fatah remain engaged in a bloody power struggle being played out primarily on the streets of the Gaza Strip.
The sheikh charged that when it came to armed conflict, the "Jews have more mercy toward [the Palestinians] than Hamas."
He went on to accuse Hamas of displaying what he called "Jewish characteristics" by practicing political corruption.
Translation of the articles was provided by The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).