Logo of Iranian-backed Palestinian group Al-Sabireen.
(photo credit: PALESTINIAN MEDIA)
In a controversial move, Hamas's Interior Ministry has ordered the Iranian-affiliated al-Sabireen Movement to close its charity organization operating in Gaza due to "the organization's engagement in political activities."
Al-Sabireen's charity association, al-Bakiyat as-Salihat, was established in Gaza in 2004 and provides humanitarian relief services to Gazan residents.
The association's president, the Shi'ite Sheikh Hisham Salem, released a statement on Saturday titled "The closure of al-Bakiyat as-Salihat – the slow execution ends with an outrageous decision."
According to the statement, "Even though the charity association has greatly contributed to the Palestinian steadfastness against the Zionist entity, especially through its humanitarian projects that aid the groups who suffered the greatest damage in the Zionist wars, it is a target for political persecution by the ruling government which does not take the humanitarian dimension into consideration.
"Hamas ordered the dissolution of the association since we have decided to break the silence, raise our voice and talk about the five-year-long Hamas harassment.
"What political activities are you talking about? If you refer to our engagement in political activities against the Occupation, then it is our honor to participate in these activities since this is our reason for being.
"Hamas's decision is not legal and it will not prevent us from continuing to serve our people. We will act to cancel this decision in all the legitimate ways, "the movement further claimed.
The al-Sabireen movement was established in 2014 by Sheikh Hisham Salem and a splinter group of the Islamic Jihad and it is currently the only jihadi faction in the Gaza Strip financed by Iran and representing the Shi'ite agenda.
Recently, the conflict between Hamas and al-Sabireen has escalated as the threat posed by the Iranian-backed organization to Hamas dominance in Gaza has grown bigger. In February, a bomb was set off near the house of Salem. The military wing of al-Sabireen accused Hamas of the attack ,calling it "a fifth column who serves the Israeli occupation."