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Israelis shut down al-Aqsa offices

UMM AL-FAHM, Israel, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Israeli police have raided and closed the Islamic Movement's al-Aqsa offices in the northern city of Umm al-Fahm, officials said.

The Saturday night raid was conducted in accordance with an "unlawful organization" order issued by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Ynetews.com reported Sunday.

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Israeli officials say they received information that the institution had ties with Hamas headquarters in Jerusalem. The government also froze some of the Islamic Movement's bank accounts.

"The Israeli institution is using the stick method instead of talking and convincing," said a spokesman for the Islamic Movement.

During the police action, officials reportedly took documents, money and a safe. The materials were turned over to Shin Bet, the Israeli security agency, the Web site reported.

"One of the organizations financing this activity is the 'Charity Coalition,' which serves as the umbrella organization of extreme Islamic funds worldwide operated by the Hamas movement, and thus the institution was declared an unlawful organization in 2002," a Shin Bet official said.

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