Hamas Bars UN Senior Employee From Leaving Gaza

Head of World Health Organization's Gaza office prevented from leaving Strip, UN official says, after militants announce international organizations need Hamas-exit permit to go into Israel.

The Erez border crossing between Israel and northern Gaza Strip.
Reuters

AP - A United Nations official says the Islamic militant Hamas has prevented a senior employee of the international organization from leaving the Gaza Strip.

The official said Mahmoud Daher, the Palestinian head of the World Health Organization's Gaza office, was barred from leaving Thursday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the incident.

The official said Hamas announced two weeks ago that international organizations would need a Hamas-issued exit permit when leaving the territory into Israel. The organization had previously been exempt from acquiring the permit. The UN asked for a month to study the request.

The move appears to be an attempt by Hamas to exert its influence on the UN, which provides assistance to hundreds of thousands of impoverished Gazans.