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Hamas 'Liberates' Money at Gunpoint

Hamas storms into a PA-run bank and takes money at gunpoint, but claims it was “protecting the people,” not stealing.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 3/4/2011, 1:12 PM / Last Update: 3/4/2011, 2:22 PM

Israel news photo montage

Hamas forces stormed into banks in Gaza twice this week and demanded money at gunpoint, making off with a total of $350,000. Leaders of the terrorist group declared that they were “protecting the Palestinian people's money,” not stealing.

Banks in Gaza shut down in protest, and will reopen on Sunday. The Hamas-affiliated National Islamic Bank remained open.

The Palestinian Authority condemned the “seizure by force of arms of amounts of cash... in a way that is against all laws and norms of banking.” PA officials called the incident “deplorable.”

Hamas argued that customers at the Palestine Investment Bank had been unable to withdraw their money. The bank told customers that their money had been transferred to banks in Judea and Samaria, on orders of the PA-run Palestine Investment Fund.

The money was taken from the bank in order to give access to customers, Hamas claimed.

A similar incident took place in June, when Hamas police stole $16,000 at gunpoint after the PA froze funds.