Australia finds no proof its World Vision aid went to Hamas

Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip said the Erez crossing would be closed indefinitely as the group investigates the death of Mazen Fuqaha, senior figure of Hamas's military wing, who was gunned down by unknown assassins in Gaza on Friday evening.

Faqha was shot dead last Friday near his home in Tel el-Hawa, a neighborhood in southwestern Gaza City, by assailants using a weapon equipped with a silencer. It has accused Israel of being behind the killing.

After the killing, Hamas set up military-style checkpoints throughout Gaza, prevented fishermen from going out to sea and barred all residents and foreign aid workers from leaving the coastal strip.

"DFAT has reviewed the management of its funding to World Vision in the Palestinian Territories".

Akram Attallah, a Gaza-based columnist, wrote that the closure of Gaza was "a collective punishment that the Palestinians should not be conducting".

It added that the decision also denies travel rights to delegations, including students and cultural delegations, participating in global activities, in addition to preventing the Palestinians from traveling overseas, especially since the Rafah Border Terminal, between Gaza and Egypt, is already closed, and the only available crossing point is Erez terminal.

"Security concerns do not give any actor free reign to violate human rights", Gisha said.

A United Nations political agency suspended its missions to Gaza on Friday after the ruling Hamas authorities there partly sealed the key border crossing into Israel, a source said.

"Hamas and its [military wing] hold [Israel] and its collaborators responsible for this despicable crime...[Israel] knows that the blood of fighters is not spilled in vain and Hamas will know how to act", the group said in a statement.

According to the IDF Coordinator of Governor Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Kerem Shalom land crossing from Israel into Gaza, used for the passage of food and dry goods, is operating normally.

Faqha, who was originally from the West Bank, was released by Israel along with more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for a captive Israeli soldier in 2011. It has imposed a gag order barring publication of details into the investigation. He had been serving nine life sentences for his role in planning suicide bombings in Israel.

  • Leroy Wright