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Hamas to re-open Ma'an Bureau in Gaza

Nov. 16, 2013 8:35 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 18, 2013 3:10 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The government in Gaza decided on Saturday to re-open Ma'an News Agency's bureau in the Gaza Strip after four months of closure.

The decision was taken at a meeting between Haniya and Palestinian faction leaders to discuss renewing unity talks. Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement was not represented at the meeting.

A spokesman for the Hamas-run government Ihab al-Ghussein said that the government withdrew a complaint against Ma'an from the public prosecution.

At the time of the closure a Ma'an staffer and a Hamas official said the agency's Gaza office was being shut temporarily due to a report - citing Israeli sources - saying that Hamas gave refuge in a Gaza hotel to fugitive leaders of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

Al-Ghussein said that Prime Minister in Gaza Ismael Haniyeh "gave his instructions for the ministry of Information to open the agency’s bureau," while committing to professionalism, precision, and requirements of press work.

Islamic Jihad delegate Khaled al-Batsh said that at the start of the talks he asked Haniya to reopen Ma'an and the local offices of Saudi-owned pan-Arab TV channel Al-Arabiya, which were closed on the same day.

Batsh said that Haniya made no immediate decision on Al-Arabiya but that the factions would pursue the matter with him on Sunday.

Islamic Jihad leader Khalid al-Batsh, said that Haniyeh informed factions of his decision and it will be implemented starting Sunday morning.

DFLP leader Salih Zeidan said that the decision is unconditional.

Ma'an General Director Raed Othman welcomed the decision to re-open the Ma'an office in Gaza and said that it will start working once Ma'an gains access to the office.

Ma'an aims to provide its media services to all Palestinians everywhere, Othman said.

He added that Gaza is an integral part of the Palestinian state and that Ma'an will try to increase its activity in the Gaza Strip in the coming weeks.

Othman thanked everyone who contributed to the re-opening of the office.

AFP contributed to this report
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