A spokesman for Hamas has been accused of sexually harassing a female foreign reporter, and is under investigation by the group ruling the Gaza Strip, according to reports on websites affiliated with the rival Fatah movement. The reporter concerned was not named.
The Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, featured prominently in international media reports about the summer’s fighting in Gaza.
The senior Gaza sources quoted on the Fatah websites said that the journalist, a Gaza-based reporter for an overseas news agency, turned to Zuhri’s colleague, Fawzi Barhoum, with the complaint, according to the NRG news site.
Hamas leadership in Gaza opened an investigation against Zuhri, and decided to suspend him from speaking with foreign press and other public activities, the reports said.
The websites also claimed that Zuhri had been involved in a previous incident, being arrested by Palestinian Authority security forces in Gaza before Hamas took the Strip by force in 2007. In that case, he reportedly admitted to placing his hand on the thigh of a woman sitting next to him in a car.
In November, Zuhri said that Israeli officials were “legitimate targets for the resistance.” He also praised the terrorist attack on a Har Nof synagogue in which four Jews at prayer and a Druze policeman were killed by East Jerusalem Palestinian assailants.
“The operation in Jerusalem is a response to the murder of the martyr Yusuf Ramouni and to the series of crimes by the occupier at Al-Aqsa and Hamas calls to continue these operations,” Zuhri said in a statement. “Hamas calls for more operations like it.”