Israeli policeman
The Star of David is seen on a sponge bullet as an Israeli policeman patrols a refugee camp in Jerusalem, May 2011. Israeli police said on Tuesday they had closed down two offices in annexed east Jerusalem which were allegedly being used by Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). © Marco Longari - AFP/File
Israeli policeman
AFP
Last updated: October 25, 2011

Israel police close Hamas offices in east Jerusalem

Israeli police said on Tuesday they had closed down two offices in annexed east Jerusalem which were allegedly being used by Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

"The Israeli police closed down two offices... that were suspected of being used by the Hamas and the PFLP," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP.

The office which was allegedly being used by Hamas was in the northern Dahiyat al-Barid neighbourhood, while the premises being used by the PFLP were located in Shuafat, police said.

But Khaled Zabarqa, who runs Jerusalem for Development, a local housing association which is based in the Dahiyat al-Barid office, said he was "surprised" by the move and denied the organisation had any ties with Hamas.

"We have no links to Hamas. We are a development institution which closes the (social) gaps left by the (Jerusalem) municipality in the Arab sector, which carries out renovations and helps families," he told AFP, saying the organisation was seeking legal redress over the closure.

"We are operating in accordance with the law."

It was not immediately possible to contact those renting the office space in Shuafat.

Five months ago, Jerusalem police closed down another Palestinian office in Wadi Joz which they said was being used by the Islamist Hamas movement which rules the Gaza Strip.

Israel took over the eastern sector of the city during the 1967 Six Day War and has since banned any Palestinian activity there deemed as "political."

It sees the whole of Jerusalem as its "eternal, indivisible" capital," while the Palestinians want the eastern sector as the capital of their promised state.

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