Jerusalem police shut down a Hamas office in east Jerusalem on Sunday morning, after it was opened in the same place for the second time in the neighborhood of Wadi Joz.
The office was operating under the guise of a “Heritage Committee,” according to police, who became aware of its existence about a month ago. Two weeks ago, police, armed with an order to seal the building from the new Jerusalem police chief Niso Shaham, stopped operations and ordered the building sealed.
But the office reopened on Friday, leading police to take additional action. No one was inside the building when officers arrived on Sunday, though Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben Ruby said he expects additional arrests in connection with the office’s reopening. Ben Ruby added that the office's reopening did not signal a resurgence in Hamas in east Jerusalem. “They knew we would close it immediately, and we did,” he said.
The office was apparently used for administrative purposes for Hamas, including recruitment and fundraising, and was not a military branch, said Ben-Ruby. Last June, police closed a Hamas office in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City near Herod’s gate which was also used for similar bureaucracy and administration.