Abid Katib  /  Getty Images
A wounded Palestinian boy is rushed in to a hospital after Israeli tanks fired on the town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip.
updated 11/8/2006 6:52:10 AM ET 2006-11-08T11:52:10

Signaling a change in tactics, Hamas' military wing on Wednesday called on Muslims around the world to attack American targets after a deadly Israeli tank strike in the Gaza Strip.

"America is offering political, financial and logistic cover for the Zionist occupation crimes, and it is responsible for the Beit Hanoun massacre. Therefore, the people and the nation all over the globe are required to teach the American enemy tough lessons," Hamas said in a statement sent to The Associated Press.

While critical of the U.S., Hamas has always focused its violent campaign of suicide bombings and rocket attacks against Israeli targets.

Wednesday's threat signaled that the group is identifying with global Islamic extremist movements, such as al-Qaida.

Ghazi Hamad, spokesman for the Hamas-led Palestinian government, said the group had no intention of attacking American targets.

"Our battle is against the occupation on the Palestinian land. We have no interest to transfer the battle," he said, though he said America was indirectly responsible for Wednesday's bloodshed because of its support for Israel.

"We urge the Arab nation and the governments of the Arab countries to protest the world's silence and the American bias," he said.

Hamas' political wing, led by Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, claims it is independent of the military wing. But the two entities both report to the group's secretive leadership, headquartered in Syria, and frequently coordinate with each other.

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