Hamas, a Palestinian militant movement has asked the government of Sierra Leone to reconsider its decision to establish an embassy in the Israeli-occupied city of ‘al-Quds’, also known as Jerusalem. The group implores Sierra Leone to stand in solidarity with the rights and just cause of the Palestinian people.

This follows after Sierra Leone’s President, Julius Maada Bio said that his country will soon set up an embassy in the city of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world and is considered holy by all three Abrahamic faiths. It is also known as ‘al-Quds’, literally meaning ‘The Holy One’.  Jerusalem is disputed in both international law and diplomatic practice, with both the Israelis and Palestinians claiming Jerusalem as their capital city.

On Saturday, Hamas representative, Abdul-Latif Qanu criticized Sierra Leone’s choice, labeling it as a disregard for the rights of Palestinians and an endorsement of the occupation of their territories.

He remarked, “This stance by Sierra Leone’s government is concerning, especially in light of the increasing Israeli offenses against our people, lands, and sacred places.”

Qanu further noted that such a move would seem to condone the actions of the occupying forces and settlers in seizing more Palestinian territories, specifically in the region of al-Quds. He urged Sierra Leone to reassess this decision and show support for the Palestinian cause.

Recent reports indicate that Sierra Leone is the sixth nation expressing intentions to open an embassy in Jerusalem.

In 2018, former US President Donald Trump relocated the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem amidst significant criticism. Out of 94 embassies in Israel, 89 are located in the coastal city of Tel Aviv. Only four — belonging to Guatemala, Honduras, Kosovo, and the United States — are based in Jerusalem.