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Israel forces raid, close healthcare centre in West Bank

Israeli occupation forces yesterday raided the headquarters of a leading healthcare organisation in the occupied West Bank city of Al-Bireh and ordered it to close for six months, a statement issued by the organisation said.

General Manager of the Health Work Committees (HWC), Shatha Odeh, said in the statement that heavily-armed Israeli occupation troops smashed the main door of the HWC headquarters and barged their way inside, tampered with and damaged most of its contents.

They then seized four computers before posting a military order to close the building for six months. The closure order is renewable, Odeh said.

She added that the Israeli decision to close the organisation comes under flimsy security pretexts, while noting that this is the second time the headquarters has been raided over the last two months.

On 8 March Israeli soldiers ransacked the HWC premises and seized the hard drives of seven computers along with other documents, Wafa news agency reported.

The HWC was established in 1985 by a group of Palestinian volunteers working in the health sector. It is a non-governmental health and development organisation which strives to meet healthcare needs of the poor and marginalised Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.

Over 400,000 Palestinians have benefited from HWC services, which are being provided by 270 full time employees and over 150 part-time medical professionals in 17 healthcare centres and clinics throughout the occupied West Bank.