Jeremy Corbyn praised by militant group Hamas for message at pro-Palestinian rally
Militant group Hamas has said it "salutes" Jeremy Corbyn for his message of support for the Palestinian people at a mass rally.
A statement read out on behalf of the Labour leader at last Saturday's event in central London said his party was "united in condemning the ongoing human rights abuses by Israeli forces, including the shooting of hundreds of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza".
In a move that sparked anger, Hamas - whose military wing has been proscribed by the UK government since 2001 - said they had received Mr Corbyn's message "with great respect and appreciation".
The group said: "In his message, Jeremy Corbyn condemned the Israeli occupation forces' shooting at unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza who were calling for their rights to be recognised. He stressed that peace cannot be achieved with the continued illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories.
"This message expresses support and solidarity with the Palestinian people and their inalienable rights to freedom, independence and self-determination. It also condemns the ongoing occupation and its crimes against our people, and reflects an advanced moral and political position worthy of all praise and thanks.
"We also salute Mr. Jeremy Corbyn for his principled position in rejecting the so-called Trump Plan for the Middle East or the "Deal of the Century" if it was based on erasing Palestinian rights, primarily the right to an independent state.
"On this occasion we emphasize that no peace plan can succeed at the expense of the rights of the Palestinian people, that the Palestinians will not allow this deal to pass, and that it will be doomed to failure."
Jennifer Gerber, director of Labour Friends of Israel, said: "Any decent politician would run a mile from the endorsement of an anti-semitic terror group which brutally suppresses the Palestinian people and is responsible for the deaths of countless innocent men, women and children.
"The fact that Jeremy Corbyn chooses not to do so says all you need to know about the man and his warped and horrifying world view."
Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid said: "If Hamas is thanking you then you’re on the side of terrorism."
A Labour spokesperson said: "Jeremy has a long and principled record of solidarity with the Palestinian people. That is the right thing to do."