Hamas Bans Adult Websites in Gaza Strip

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Islamic faction Hamas has instructed the main Palestinian telecommunications company to deny access to adult websites in the Gaza Strip, a Hamas government official said Monday. 

Gaza's Ministry of Communications said in a statement that telecommunications company PALTEL has agreed to block Internet users in the Hamas-controlled coastal enclave from viewing adult websites starting this month. 

"The aim of the move is to protect the Palestinian community from cultural pollution and to protect the young generations from the misuse of the Internet through viewing pornographic sites," Hamas government spokesman Taher al-Nono said. 

An Internet provider in the Gaza Strip, which Hamas seized in June after routing President Mahmoud Abbas' secular Fatah forces, estimated that about 400,000 Gazans surf the Web and almost half of them are between the ages of 18 and 35, according to Reuters

Attacks on video stores and Internet cafés have risen over the past two years. Some of the attacks were clamed by radical Muslim groups who say such businesses conflict with Islamic principles. 

Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria are among other Muslim countries that supervise access to several social, political and pornographic websites, Reuters reported.