Middle East

Hamas cancels public holiday on international women's day

Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip have canceled plans to give students a day off on Wednesday for international women's day.

The internationally backed Palestinian Authority in the West Bank has declared women's day a public holiday.

But the Islamic militant Hamas, which has controlled Gaza for the past decade, said Sunday it would not obey the order. It says Wednesday will be a normal work day and schools will be open, though the first hour of classes will include discussions about women's role in the Palestinian national struggle.

Hamas gave no reason for its decision.

Under the group's rule, Gazan society has grown increasingly conservative, with Hamas imposing a dress code on female lawyers, principals harassing students who don't wear headscarves and occasionally banning women from smoking in cafes.