Palestinian gunmen (Archive)
Photo: Reuters

Gaza banks shut down after armed robbery

All Gaza Strip banks close temporarily after gunmen force branch of Palestine Investment Fund to cash $500,000 in stolen checks. Bankers say Hamas behind robbery

All banks in the Gaza Strip have temporarily shut down after gunmen forced a local branch to cash some $500,000 in stolen checks.


Gazan bankers say the checks were confiscated from a branch of the Palestine Investment Fund - which is run by the rival Palestinian government in the West Bank.


Bankers say gunmen forced the fund's office manager to sign the checks, and bank tellers to cash them, though the account didn't contain enough money.


The bankers say men affiliated with the ruling Hamas movement stole cash in similar incidents this year. They suspect the gunmen in Wednesday's incident were also Hamas-associated.


The Palestine Monetary Authority - which regulates Palestinian banks - closed all Gaza branches Thursday. They are to reopen Sunday.


The spokesman for Palestinian police in Gaza denied reports suggesting police officers were involved in the robbery of the Palestine Investment Fund. He said that the officers seen in the bank were investigating complaints regarding finance issues received by a number of companies.


He added that the police had launched an official investigation and stressed that officers have right to enter anywhere as long as they have formal approval.


Elior Levy contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 03.03.11, 17:26
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