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Hamas stifles Gazans' giggles

The recent arrest of two satirists in Gaza points to increasing restrictions on freedom of expression due to Hamas' insecurity.
Palestinian journalist Ayman al-Alul answers AFP journalists' questions during an interview on January 13, 2016 at his family home in Gaza City.
Alul, a 44-year-old journalist with the Arab Now news agency, was detained by Hamas security services in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip on January 3 and released on January 11.

 / AFP / MAHMUD HAMS        (Photo credit should read MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)
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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — The Ministry of Interior in the Gaza Strip ushered in the new year by launching what many view as a war on political satire, sending a warning with the Jan. 3 arrests of Ayman al-Aloul and Ramzi Harzallah. In December, parties in government close to Hamas had filed complaints with the public prosecutor against them because of their activities online.

Aloul’s son, Omar, told Al-Monitor, “A military jeep and two Hyundai cars stopped in front of the house, in the Sabra neighborhood, south of Gaza City. Several individuals got out of the vehicles and introduced themselves as members of the internal security apparatus. They asked my father to step out of the house, without letting him change, so my grandmother wrapped him with a fleece robe.” Omar added, “They asked for all the laptops we had in the house, and one of them told my grandmother that her son is too comfortable expressing his opinions on Facebook.”

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