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Israel raids Hamas charities in West Bank

Agence France Presse

July 3, 2006

Israeli forces on Monday raided several charity associations linked to the governing Palestinian faction Hamas in the West Bank, confiscating paperwork and equipment, security sources said.

In the northern West Bank city of Nablus, Israeli soldiers conducting a pre-dawn search took documents and computers from a dairy run by a charity linked to Hamas and which employs 75 people.

The army ordered the factory closed for one year, according to a notice posted on the building's door.

Israeli soldiers also raided the offices of three other Hamas-linked Islamic associations in the nearby towns of Qalqilya and Tulkarem, and the Askar refugee camp, confiscating documents and computers, the sources added.

The army arrested three suspected Hamas members near Qalqilya in the village of Qarawa.

An Israeli army spokeswoman confirmed to AFP that an operation had been carried out against "Hamas's infrastructure in the West Bank".

She said the documents and computers contained information on the transfer of money to Hamas, which is blacklisted as a terrorist group by the European Union, Israel and the United States.

As part of a massive military operation launched in a bid to free a soldier seized by Palestinian militants on June 25, Israeli aircraft have also bombed the Gaza offices of Hamas's premier and interior minister.

Troops last Thursday arrested 64 Hamas members, including a third of the Hamas-led cabinet and 24 Islamist MPs, in a huge West Bank operation.

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