WASHINGTON, Aug. 11 (UPI) — The U.S. State Department Thursday warned Hamas leaders in Gaza their demands to audit American-financed charities could cost them $100 million in aid.
The message was prompted after Hamas suspended International Medical Corps’ operations in Gaza because IMC refused an onsite audit by Hamas, The New York Times reported.
Most charities in Gaza have agreed to register with Hamas and pay a fee but the U.S. government forbids direct contact with Hamas, which means agreeing to an audit could lead to suspension of activity by the United States, the newspaper said.
U.S. and European officials told the Times on condition of anonymity they hope Hamas will back off on its demands and charities can keep operating.
Taher al-Nounou, a Hamas spokesman, said any entity that wants to operate in the area must respect Palestinian law.