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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Hamas cracks down on demonstrations, recruits women officers

GAZA CITY In August, the Hamas regime has cracked down on Fatah-led demonstrations in the northern and central Gaza Strip and has decided to recruit women police officers..

On Monday, Hamas police attacked hundreds of protesters with clubs and rifle butts in Gaza City. Hamas has banned all demonstrations without a license.

"For the sake of the general good and to secure the rule of law, it is totally forbidden to demonstrate without permission from the Executive Force," Executive Force spokesman Saber Khalifa said. "This decision is part of the security plan that the Executive Force has put together in order to preserve the rule of law."

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[On Tuesday, Israeli military forces, backed by armored vehicles, raided the southern Gaza Strip and killed five Palestinians, four of whom were identified as Hamas operatives, Middle East Newsline reported. The military was also said to have stopped Palestinians from infiltrating Israel from the central Gaza Strip.]

Officials said the police force in the Gaza Strip would recruit women. They said the women would be trained for a range of duties. "We plan to add 100 women officers to the Gaza force," an official said.

Hamas has virtually no female officers in its security forces. Officials said the few women who served in the Palestinian Authority police before the defeat of Fatah in June 2007 have failed to report to work.

"We must establish a strong authority in order to enforce the law," Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said.

The Hamas women officers were expected to participate in anti-riot operations.

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