Red Cross in Gaza closes office due to violent protests

AP News
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Posted: Feb 07, 2016 11:41 AM
Red Cross in Gaza closes office due to violent protests

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The International Committee of the Red Cross said Sunday it is temporarily closing its Gaza office after protesters repeatedly tried to storm it.

Spokeswoman Suhair Zakkout said the office will operate remotely until "local authorities in Gaza provide assurances that our premises, work and staff are respected." Gaza is ruled by Hamas, an Islamic militant group that seized power there in 2007.

Dozens of Gazans have protested daily at the office in recent weeks in solidarity with a Palestinian hunger striker detained by Israel, demanding that the Red Cross help bring about his release. They tried to enter the building forcefully on Sunday, smashing garage windows and causing other damage.

Mohammed al-Qeq, a 33-year old journalist, has been on a hunger strike for 75 days.

Israel's Shin Bet security service says al-Qeq is involved in militant activities linked to Hamas.