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Hamas shuts down journalists syndicate in Gaza

Oct. 12, 2010 6:26 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 13, 2010 10:36 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Security forces in the Gaza Strip closed the headquarters of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate without explanation Tuesday, a member of the press union's general secretariat said.

Tahseen Al-Astal told Ma’an that forces arrived in civilian clothes and told them that the Ministry of the Interior had issued a decision to close the syndicate. He added that they were informed of the decision orally and received nothing in writing.

The syndicate's Ramallah office condemned the move and is investigating.

In a statement, it said that "this crime comes as the syndicate organized workshops to unite journalists."

The syndicate added that "Hamas leaders and security forces carry full responsibility for the lives of journalists in Gaza," and it demanded that the Hamas "reverse the decision and apologize to journalists" and the union leadership.

The syndicate, the largest press organization in Palestine and Palestine's delegate to the International Federation of Journalists, has been accused in recent months of taking a pro-Fatah stance amid the ongoing state of political disunity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
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