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Hamas leaders reject fatwa forbidding suicide attacks

Several Hamas leaders have rebuffed a surprising fatwa issued by the Muslim Brotherhood's Sharia authority, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, which bans Palestinian suicide operations against Israel.
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As soon as the first Palestinian intifada came to an end in 1993, Hamas embarked on a campaign of suicide bombings against Israeli targets in the cities of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Nahariya and Netanya, killing dozens of Israelis. The operations followed fatwas issued by Sharia scholars, most notably Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Qaradawi, head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, said that such operations are the greatest type of jihad and should not be considered suicide operations but heroic martyrdom.

However, the same Qatar-based Qaradawi, now one of the most prominent scholars in the Islamic world, said Nov. 24 that such operations are no longer appropriate in Palestine. He said they were previously allowed out of necessity as Palestinians had no weapons. But Palestinians now have other ways to fight.

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