Police shut E. J'lem center run by Hamas

Tsur Bahir 'Education Club' closed by order of Avi Dichter; director: Israeli accusations "baseless."

east jerusalem 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
east jerusalem 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Jerusalem police have shut down a religious and educational center in east Jerusalem that was run by Hamas activists, police said Tuesday. The Education Club in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Tsur Bahir, which was closed down late Monday at the order of Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter, was used as recruitment center for the Islamic group, Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said. The director of the center Hussein Abu Hamed called the Israeli accusations "baseless." "We are not connected to any Palestinian faction, and we don't represent any Palestinian faction," Abu Hamed told the Associated Press. The center, which was established in early 2000, went to court on Tuesday to try to overturn the closure order, he said. Hamas. which refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence or accept past peace agreements, is consistently looking to gain a foothold in Arab neighborhoods of east Jerusalem. The police move was the latest in a series of closures intended to keep Hamas out of the city. Palestinians demands all of east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.