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Ma'an stops work in Gaza, seeks damages from Hamas

Oct. 1, 2013 12:44 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 2, 2013 3:27 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Ma'an Network announced Monday that it would stop working in the Gaza Strip as it seeks to recoup financial losses from the Hamas government's July closure of its Gaza City office.

In a statement, Ma'an said that the Hamas government had seized control of its office and equipment in the weeks since the closure and it could therefore no longer justify paying expenses toward the operation.

The network said it was turning to Palestinian and international courts to seek damages for wages and lost revenues, adding that Hamas would "bear all losses caused by this reckless step."

The statement also reiterated "complete confidence in our colleagues in Gaza" and insisted it remained committed to its "administrative and financial commitments" toward them.

But Ma'an said it would not "fund a coup against media freedom and freedom of expression" nor legitimize Hamas' policy toward the press, which it described as "outside the law and beyond any accountability."

Hamas closed Ma'an's Gaza City office on July 25, citing vague accusations.

At the time, the attorney general said he ordered the closure after Hamas officials accused Ma'an of deliberately publishing "false news reports seeking to incite against Gaza."
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