Sarah Palin has attacked suggestions that political rhetoric contributed to Saturday’s shootings in Arizona as “blood libel”.

The former Alaska governor slammed commentators for laying “blame for this terrible event”.

The shooting left six people dead, including a nine-year-old girl, and a congresswoman wounded.

Jared Loughner, 22, has been jailed pending trial for the shootings.

In a video released on her Facebook page, Palin said: “Especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn.”

Commentators criticised Palin for including shot US congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in a ‘hit list’ last year with the message “Don’t Retreat, instead – RELOAD!”

The hit list, which was published on Palin’s website on March 23 last year, included 20 politicians that she wanted conservative voters to help unseat in last year’s mid-term elections.

Published under the title “TARGETED!”, an image of a crosshair gun was printed over each politician’s home patch.