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Gaza banks open gradually after week of closure

June 11, 2014 11:29 A.M. (Updated: July 8, 2014 2:21 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Banks in the Gaza Strip gradually began operating on Wednesday after a week of closure, a Palestinian official said.

Jihad al-Wazir, governor of the Palestinian Monetary Authority, told Ma'an that clients had begun to withdraw money as Hamas-affiliated police officers were given orders to allow banks to open.

Hundreds of Palestinian Authority government employees lined up at banks to withdraw their salaries, a Ma'an reporter said.

The banking crisis started last Wednesday when Hamas employees of the former Gaza government were angered to find out they had not been paid, with Hamas-affiliated police officers preventing PA employees from collecting their wages.

Employees of the previous government see it as Ramallah's responsibility to pay their salaries, but the new unity government says no such agreement was ever made with Hamas.

A Hamas spokesman had denied on Tuesday that banks would open, after a senior member of the Islamist movement said police officers would allow PA employees to withdraw salaries Wednesday.

"What has been attributed to Dr. Mousa Abu Marzouq about banks and salaries in Gaza is false," Sami Abu Zuhri said on his Facebook page.

Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzouq was quoted Tuesday as saying banks in Gaza would be open Wednesday, and that the salary crisis would be resolved by the end of June.

A Palestinian national consensus government was sworn in on June 2, as Hamas ceded power after nearly seven years of ruling Gaza.

Many issues involving the Strip, such as the fate of former employees of the Hamas government, have yet to be addressed by the new unity government.
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