FThe Western-backed Palestinian government has ordered the closure of 17 more associations "accused of operating illegally", an interior ministry official said Monday.
"The ministry decided to close and dissolve 17 associations," the official said on condition of anonymity. "We had warned them for three months that they needed to put their situation in order, but they did not respond."
He said 50 other civil groups had also been warned to straighten out their situation with the ministry, adding that most of those ordered to close did not "have ties with Hamas."
Last month, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said the government had ordered the closure of 103 associations, in a move slammed by Hamas as a crackdown on the Islamist movement.
Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement that seized control of Gaza more than two months ago, derives much of its support from a network of welfare agencies and associations.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ordered a review of the hundreds of associations operating in the territories after the Hamas takeover of Gaza June 15.
Last Mod: 03 Eylül 2007, 18:13