Hamas Interior Ministry arrests Gazans for ‘spreading rumors’

Crack down comes against “people who circulate rumors and fake news on social media.”

April 27, 2017 03:40
1 minute read.
Mazen Fuqaha

A Hamas supporter shouts anti-Israel slogans in front of the family house of Palestinian senior Hamas militant Mazen Fuqaha in the West Bank town of Tubas, near Jenin, March 25, 2017.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

A number of homicides in the past week have caused tensions among Gazans, leading Hamas to crack down on “people who circulate rumors and fake news on social media.”

The homicides, which have been widely discussed on social media, have led many residents to question Hamas’s ability to ensure the Strip’s security.

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In one instance, Ismail Ghabayen, 70, was found dead in front of his house in the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City.

In another homicide, a man murdered his wife in Rafah for unclear reasons.

A Gaza-based source told The Jerusalem Post that the recent killings demonstrate that “Hamas is not able to provide the same level of security as it has in the past.”

Hamas authorities, however, said the homicides do not point to growing instability in the Strip.

“Gaza will continue to enjoy security and stability,” Hamasbacked Police Chief Taysir Batsh told reporters on Wednesday.

“What happened recently should not cause anxiety and uneasiness.”

The Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry said on Wednesday that it will not tolerate people spreading rumors on social media, adding that it arrested a number of them.

The Gaza-based source clarified that the ministry identified 17 people who it believes are spreading rumors, and arrested them.

The Interior Ministry is demanding that suspected firsttime offenders sign a pledge that they will not spread rumors in the future, according to the source. The ministry said it will release everyone who signs the pledge, the source stated.

As for alleged second-time offenders, the Interior Ministry said it will work with the Hamas-appointed Attorney- General Ismail Jaber to prosecute them, according to the source.

There have been 14 homicides in the Gaza Strip since January 1, Yamen Madhoun, a human rights official, told the Maan Palestinian news agency.

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