Palestinian Authority dismantles dozens of Hamas charities in West Bank

The Fatah-led Palestinian Authority has dismantled dozens of charities run by the rival Hamas group and frozen their accounts, pressing forward with a crackdown on the Islamic militant group, an official said Monday. The move deepened the bitter rivalry between the Palestinian rivals since Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in June. PA President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah has systematically targeted Hamas power bases in his West Bank stronghold since the Gaza takeover. Government spokesman Riad Malki described the 92 charity committees as a "financial empire" for Hamas. He said the committees were quietly shuttered two weeks ago. There was no explanation for the delay in announcing the move. The committees are formed by prominent local and religious leaders under the supervision of the Ministry of Religious Affairs. The committees collect money and distribute it to the poor, usually during religious holidays. Muslims will celebrate their holy day of Eid al-Adha in late December.