Hamas orders reopening of Gaza news agency
AFP, Saturday 16 Nov 2013

The Gaza Strip's Hamas prime minister on Saturday ordered the reopening of a Palestinian news agency closed in July for alleged "false" reporting of Hamas aid to Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.

"Prime Minister Ismail Haniya ordered reopening Maan (agency) from tomorrow morning," government spokesman Ihab al-Hussein told AFP.

The decision was taken at a meeting between Haniya and Palestinian faction leaders to discuss renewing unity talks. Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah movement was not represented at the meeting.

Islamic Jihad delegate Khaled al-Batsh said that at the start of the talks he asked Haniya to reopen Maan and the local offices of Saudi-owned pan-Arab TV channel Al-Arabiya, which were closed on the same day.

Batsh told AFP that Haniya made no immediate decision on Al-Arabiya but that the factions would pursue the matter with him on Sunday.

At the time of the closure a Maan staffer and a Hamas official told AFP the agency's Gaza office was being shut temporarily for a report -- citing Israeli sources -- saying that Hamas gave refuge in a Gaza hotel to fugitive leaders of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

Saudi-owned pan-Arab channel Al-Arabiya did not reveal the reasons for its office closure.

Morsi, a veteran Muslim Brotherhood leader who went on to become Egypt's first freely elected president, was toppled in a military coup on July 3.

Since then, hundreds of his supporters have been killed and some 2,000 Islamists have been rounded up a in a military crackdown.

On July 14, Egyptian investigators began questioning Morsi and members of his Muslim Brotherhood over their escape from jail during the 2011 uprising that put them in power.

The enquiry relates to the escape by Morsi and dozens of Brotherhood members from Wadi Natrun prison during the revolt that ended former president Hosni Mubarak's three-decade rule.

An Egyptian court in June said the Islamist Hamas rulers of Gaza and Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah movement helped prisoners escape.

Hamas is the Palestinian chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has branches across the Middle East.

In its coverage of the Egyptian upheaval, Al-Arabiya has aired live footage of anti-Morsi protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square and called the coup that overthrew him a "second revolution".