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Gazans temporarily shut aid agencies to protest over US killings

Protests force temporary closure of CARE, Mercy Corps and Amideast in Gaza City
Palestinian youths take part in a rally outside the offices of the US humanitarian organisation CARE in Gaza City (AFP)

Dozens of young Gazans forced a temporary shutdown of several aid organisations Monday in protest at the killings of three American Muslims of Palestinian origin in North Carolina last week.

"We came here today to close the US institutions for two hours. This event aims to denounce the policy of media blackout that occurred and the US media silence and the US official silence," said activist Jamal Yaghi.

The activists forced the temporary closure of CARE, Mercy Corps, Amideast and three other aid organisations operating in the Gaza Strip that they associated with US interests.

"The blood of all victims is important, whatever their religion or their nationality," Yaghi said in an address to the demonstrators who carried "Hate Crime" banners denouncing the 10 February killings.

The Palestinian Authority has condemned the murder of sisters Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, and Yusor Mohammad, 21, along with Yusor's husband Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, as a "dangerous sign of racism and religious extremism".

The sisters were Jordanian Americans of Palestinian origin, and Barakat's parents are immigrants from Syria of Palestinian descent.

The three were killed in their Chapel Hill home, allegedly by neighbour Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, whose Facebook page espoused anti-religious views. He is charged with three counts of first degree murder.

The murders, initially viewed by police as sparked by a dispute between neighbours, are being investigated as a hate crime.

Amid outrage among Muslims across the world, demonstrations have been staged throughout the Palestinian territories, especially Gaza.

After criticism for his initial silence, US President Barack Obama on Friday condemned the "brutal and outrageous" execution-style murders.

Obama said that no one in the US "should ever be targeted because of who they are, what they look like, or how they worship".