‘Ha­mas given char­ity’s cash’


A SE­NIOR aid worker in Gaza has been ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of chan­nelling char­ity funds to the Is­lamist ter­ror­ist group Ha­mas.

Muham­mad Mur­taja, who is em­ployed by the Turk­ish Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment Agency (Tika), has been ac­cused by Is­raeli of­fi­cials of “co­op­er­at­ing with Ha­mas; be­ing a mem­ber of an en­emy or­gan­i­sa­tion; hav­ing con­tact with en­emy spies; and plot­ting against state se­cu­rity”.

The Is­raeli De­fence Forces (IDF) said Mr Mur­taja was ar­rested at the Erez checkpoint be­tween Gaza and Is­rael last month while trav­el­ling to take part in a train­ing course run by Tika. The IDF al­leges that Mr Mur­taja had an ul­te­rior mo­tive for the trip: the in­ten­tion “to ac­quire in­for­ma­tion that would in­crease the ac­cu­racy of Ha­mas rock­ets launched at Is­rael”.

The IDF claims that Mr Mur­taja, who is Pales­tinian, has been work­ing for the mil­i­tary branch of Ha­mas for a decade.

As the Tika co­or­di­na­tor in Gaza since 2012, Mr Mur­taja would pass lists of Gaza res­i­dents el­i­gi­ble for fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to Tika. The IDF al­leges these were in fact lists of Ha­mas ter­ror­ists and their fam­i­lies.

Mr Mur­taja de­nies all al­le­ga­tions.

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