Saudi Ambassador to Algeria Sami Bin Abdullah Salih referred to Hamas as a “terrorist organization” in an interview with an Algerian newspaper.
“Of course, [Hamas] is classified…It certainly is, if it seeks to create and cause problems,” Salih said when asked by a reporter from the Al-Nahar newspaper if his country considers Hamas a terror group, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Salih also criticized Hamas leaders for their lavish lifestyles while living in Qatar.
“The right to resistance is guaranteed to the PLO, not one sitting in a five-star hotel in Qatar, carrying out conspiracies from there,” Salih said. “It should be that one is with his people and trying to advance his issue.”
Khaled Mashaal, who recently stepped down as the Palestinian terror group’s top political leader, had been based in Qatar before the country jettisoned several Hamas officials. Mashaal’s replacement, Ismail Haniyeh, resides in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
Salih’s comments come amid tension between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries broke off relations with Qatar last month over Qatar’s support for terrorist groups like Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State, in addition to its warm ties with Iran.
Hamas expressed its “utmost disappointment and disapproval” of the Saudi ambassador’s “inciting” statements, calling the comments “at odds with the values, principles and customs of our Arabic and Islamic nations…Hamas is a legitimate resistance movement against the Zionist occupation, the primary enemy of the Arabic and Islamic nations.”