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Last Updated: Monday, 10 April 2006, 14:53 GMT 15:53 UK
Israel shuts joint security post
Police officers remove a Palestinian flag from a joint Israeli-Palestinian security co-ordination office in the West Bank
The closure of the office is another sign of a breakdown in relations
Israel has ordered the closure of a joint Israeli-Palestinian security co-ordination office in the West Bank.

Reports said the Israeli military had told their Palestinian counterparts to leave the office in Jericho by Tuesday.

It follows Israel's decision to sever ties with the Palestinian Authority after the militant group, Hamas, was elected to government.

Hamas decribed the decision to suspend links as "a declaration of war", the Reuters news agency reported.

In a recent upsurge of violence, 15 Palestinians, including 13 militants and the child of one of the radicals, have died in Israeli attacks since Friday.

Ten rockets were launched from Gaza into southern Israel over the weekend. No Israelis were wounded.


At the Jericho security office, Palestinian officers took down posters of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and a Palestinian flag.

Palestinian Colonel Khaled Ziyar and his men piled their belongings on to a pick-up truck and turned keys to the facility over to the Israelis, the Reuters news agency reported.

Correspondents say the decision to close the office is mostly symbolic, but shows Israel is determined to isolate the new Hamas-led administration.

Earlier, the Israeli army said it had arrested 19 suspected Palestinian militants in overnight raids across the West Bank.

Eleven of them were said to have been detained in the Nablus area, and others in Hebron, Ramallah and Tulkarm.

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