Red Cross in Gaza closes office due to violent protests

The closing is expected to be temporary

Israeli border police run during clashes with Palestinian students in Abu Dis,West Bank, Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. A series of Palestinian attacks linked to tensions over a sensitive Jerusalem holy site began in mid-September. In addition to the near-daily attacks, violent demonstrations have erupted in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, with Palestinian stone-throwers clashing with Israeli troops. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The International Committee of the Red Cross says it is temporarily closing its Gaza office after protesters repeatedly tried to storm it.

Spokeswoman Suhair Zakkout said the office will operate remotely until “local authorities in Gaza provide assurances that our premises, work and staff are respected.”

Dozens of Gazans have protested daily at the office in recent weeks in solidarity with a Palestinian hunger striker detained by Israel, demanding that the Red Cross help bring about his release. They tried to enter the building forcefully on Sunday, smashing garage windows and causing other damage.

Mohammed al-Qeq, a 33-year old journalist, has been on a hunger strike for 75 days.

Israel’s Shin Bet security service says al-Qeq is involved in militant activities linked to Hamas, the Islamic group that rules Gaza.

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