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Israeli army shuts down six Hamas-affiliated associations in Nablus

July 8, 2008 11:30 A.M. (Updated: July 8, 2008 11:30 A.M.)
Nablus - Ma'an - The Israeli army closed six Hamas-affilated associations in Nablus on Tuesday, confiscating documents and equipment as part of an Israeli crackdown on Islamic charities in the West Bank.

Palestinian security sources told Ma'an's correspondent that more than 120 Israeli military vehicles stormed Nablus on Monday night and raided a number of Palestinian associations in the city.

Israel claims the six associations have been financing the activities of "terrorist" organizations over the past two years. They are the Nafha Association for Prisoners' Affairs, the Islamic Union Association, The Scientific Medical Association, the Yazur Association in the Balata refugee camp and the Al-Basmah Association at the the 'Askar refugee camp, as well as storming the Al-Huda mosque in the 'Askar refugee camp.

Eyewitnesses confirmed that the Israeli army also stormed the Nablus Mall, confiscating documents related to funding projects as well as computers and cameras.

The Nablus Mall has 50 shops and offices, including the Al-Itiman company, which has a capital of 4 million Jordanian Dinars (5.64 million US dollars). Israel says this company funds Hamas and 'encourages terrorism.' The head of the Mall administration Adli Yayish has been in Israeli custody for a year and a half, accused of being affiliated to Hamas.

The Israeli army commander in Nablus issued an order that anyone who now enters the Nablus Mall will be imprisoned for five years. The order will come into effect on August 15.

The Israeli army issued a statement transferring the ownership of the Nablus Mall to the Israeli authorities from August 18.

Ziad 'Anbatawi a member in the administration of the Nablus Mall told Ma'an that the order is illegal and that legal procedures will be followed to overturn the decision.

"The Nablus Mall will be open to everyone as usual starting from Tuesday morning," 'Anbatawi added.

Israel's legal authorities have recently approved such raids on Hamas-affiliated Islamic charities in the West Bank, in a bid to curb Hamas' rising popularity. Israeli Forces have been carrying out similar raids in the Hebron, Qalqilyah and Ramallah areas since the beginning of the year, but the legal sanction means the campaign will now be expanded to other parts of the West Bank.

On Monday Israeli forces closed four Hamas-affiliated charities in Nablus, confiscating computers and cash. Israeli authorities claimed the charities were part of Hamas' infrastructure in Nablus, and that was the reason they were shut down.

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