The militant group Hamas, which has carried out scores of suicide bombings in Israel, urged Iraq on Friday to copy its tactics and send thousands of attackers with explosives strapped to their bodies into a battle against the West.
"We call on the Arabs and Muslims to burn the land under the feet of the American invaders, especially our brothers in Saudi Arabia because this war is not against Iraq, it's against the Islamic nation," Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi told a rally in this impoverished shanty encampment.
Hamas has dispatched most of the 92 suicide bombers that have killed hundreds of Israelis in more than two years of Israel-Palestinian fighting.
Rantisi's remarks were unusual for Hamas, which has focused on fighting Israel since taking up arms in 1987 at the start of the first Palestinian uprising.
An Israeli terrorism expert, Boaz Ganor, said Hamas was likely trying to position itself as part of a global Islamic revolution against the West, but without steering the focus of its struggle away from Israel.
"Iraq is trying to show the Muslim world that the conflict that is going to happen is part of a Western campaign against the Muslim world and Hamas supports that," said Ganor, director of Israel's International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism.
Ganor said Hamas leaders may also want to keep ties strong with Iraq because Saddam Hussein frequently pays the families of Palestinians, including suicide bombers, who die in confrontations with Israeli soldiers.
Rantisi told about 2,000 people that Iraq should train and outfit cells of suicide attackers with "thousands of highly explosive belts" to fight American and British troops in Iraq.
"We urge the Iraqi leadership to open the door for Muslim volunteers who should perform their role in defense of Iraq because all Muslims are targeted by the USA," Rantisi said.
The demonstrators shouted pro-Iraq slogans and set fire to American, British and Israeli flags.
Meanwhile Friday, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a 17-year-old boy, Tareq Abu Jawdu, during a clash in the Aida refugee camp in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. Doctors at Beit Jalla Hospital said the boy was shot in the abdomen and two others were lightly wounded.
Military officials said troops used riot dispersal gear to deter stone throwers who were hampering workers building a security fence between Bethlehem and Jerusalem.
Israeli soldiers also demolished the home of Darin Abu Aisheh, a suicide bomber, in a West Bank village near the city of Nablus. The woman set off explosives inside a car at an Israeli military checkpoint last February, killing herself and wounding three policemen.
Israel routinely demolishes the homes of suspected Palestinian militants and suicide bombers, believing it discourages attacks. Palestinians say the demolitions violate international law and are a form of collective punishment.
Israel also closed military liaison offices in the West Bank towns of Tulkarem, Qalqilya and Nablus, one of the last remnants of a 1993 interim peace agreement that set up cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian security forces.
An army spokesman said the offices were closed because there is no longer any security cooperation between the two sides and having armed Palestinians in the offices posed a security risk.
By Ibrahim Barzak
Copyright 2003 CBS. All rights reserved.