Last updated: 29 January, 2012

Israel shuts down charity and sports club for suspected Hamas ties

Israeli police on Sunday temporarily shut down a charity foundation and sports centre in east Jerusalem, suspected of serving as fronts for Hamas activity, a police spokeswoman told AFP.

The institutions in the flashpoint neighbourhood of Silwan, just below the walled Old City, “were funded by Hamas and used for the movement’s covert activities in the village,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.

The closure order was for 30 days, she said.

Over the past year, Samri added, police closed 10 offices around Jerusalem because of “illegal activity funded by terror groups, usually Hamas.”

In recent weeks, Israel has arrested five Hamas lawmakers in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Last week, an Israeli military court ordered that Hamas speaker of the Palestinian parliament Aziz Dweik be held in administrative detention for six months.

Hamas has 74 MPs in the 132-member Palestinian Legislative Council, of whom 24 are currently being held by Israel. Most were arrested over the past 15 months.