Hamas tightens restrictions on public gatherings in Gaza

Hamas has issued tough new restrictions on public gatherings in the Gaza Strip. Gaza's police force says anyone who wants to hold an indoor cultural event or celebration will now need a special permit. It says the move is necessary to "uphold law and order." Sunday's announcement was the latest move by Hamas to consolidate power in Gaza since the group violently seized control there last June. It already has banned unauthorized public protests. Hamas appears to be concerned by recent attempts by the rival Fatah movement and other political groups to hold unauthorized cultural events. The independent Palestinian Center for Human Rights says the Hamas decision is illegal.