(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Police and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) closed down the offices of an Islamic Movement-run organization in Nazareth that was identified with Hamas, authorities announced on Thursday.
The offices of the Amara al-Aksa and al-Makdasat organization were closed on September 3.
Founded in 2009 by the Islamic Movement, the Islamist body’s role was to ensure a permanent Muslim presence on the Temple Mount and protect the holy site, but it also cooperated with Hamas, according to the Shin Bet.
“Even though the activity was formally presented as being run by the Islamic Movement, in reality, we identified the deep involvement of Hamas in this activity, both in management and on the field level,” the Shin Bet added. “This activity led to an escalation of tensions on the Temple Mount, which promotes disturbances that frequently break out there, and undermines the security of visitors to the site, while [also] harming Israeli sovereignty at the site.”
The intelligence agency stressed that the closure “is not meant to harm in any way the Islamic religious activity at the Temple Mount and al-Aksa Mosque.”