A Palestinian Greek Orthodox archimandrite is urging Arab Christians to join forces with Islam and take part in suicide attacks against Israel, reports ASSIST News Service.
Attallah Hanna, former spokesman of the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, called for the creation of an Islamic-Christian union that would foil the “American offensive” against Iraq and “release Palestine from the river to the sea.”
“The suicide bombers who carry out their activities in the name of religion are national [Islamic] heroes and we’re proud of them,” he said on the Internet website of the militant group Hamas, which has claimed responsibility for several attacks.
“The attackers do not commit suicide as several claim, nor do they carry out acts of terrorism as others claim, for they are fighters against occupation,” Hanna added in his message, which came after 22 people died this month in Israel’s bloodiest suicide bombing in nearly a year.
The 37-year old priest also called on Arab and Palestinian Christians to join the struggle against the occupation by employing “any means at their disposal.”
According to ArabicNews.com, the Greek Patriarch of Jerusalem, Arinous 1st, criticized Hanna and fired him as an official Orthodox spokesman because of “supporting Palestinian terrorism.”
Hanna denies having called suicide bombers “heroes.”
“I strongly reject terrorist bombings that target innocent people, regardless of their nationality and religion,” he told The Jerusalem Post
this week. “The statements attributed to me are fabricated and untrue. The purpose is to hurt the church and its humane and moral stance.”