Gaza's ruling Hamas
has criticized a Palestinian official for visiting a memorial at the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz
and paying respects to its 1.5 million victims there, most of them Jews.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum, expressing the Islamic terror group's position, claimed Wednesday that the Holocaust
"is a big lie."
He said last week's visit to the Auschwitz by Ziad al-Bandak, an adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas,
went against Palestinian public opinion. Abbas and Hamas are political rivals.
Al-Bandak, who advises Abbas on Christian affairs, visited prisoner blocs, gas chambers and a crematorium in the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex that the Germans built and operated in southern Poland during
their World War II occupation of the country.
Some 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, were killed in the camp from 1940-45.
Al-Bandak, a Christian, came on an invitation from a private Polish foundation promoting tolerance.
In 2007, the Palestinian and the Israeli ambassadors to Poland made a joint visit to the memorial.
Some 6 million Jews were killed in the German Nazi genocide during World War II, including in Auschwitz in Nazi-occupied Poland.