Israel dubs Hamas-linked TV channel ‘terrorist group’
In precedent, Israel designates Palestinian media outlet as ‘terrorist' organization
Israel has officially classified the Hamas-linked Al-Aqsa television channel, which broadcasts from the blockaded Gaza Strip, as a “terrorist” group.
“Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that Hamas's Al-Aqsa satellite channel is a terrorist organization,” the Israeli Defense Ministry tweeted Wednesday.
The move represents the first time for a Palestinian media outlet to be designated a “terrorist group”.
On his official Twitter account, Netanyahu said: “The decision was made based on recommendations by the Israeli Security Agency (Shin Bet) and the Defense Ministry's National Counter-Terrorism Command.”
Netanyahu went on to accuse Hamas, which has governed the Gaza Strip since 2007, of “using the channel to recruit militants”.
In a statement, Hamas spokesman Abdul Latif al-Qanoua described the decision as “another Israeli attempt to target [Palestinian] media institutions”.
“Israel is trying to demonize our media outlets with a view to preempting the Palestinian narrative,” he said.
“But Israel won’t succeed in suppressing the truth or the rights of the Palestinian people,” he added.
The TV channel, for its part, whose Gaza City headquarters has been repeatedly bombed in the past by the Israeli military, denies claims it takes part in terrorist activities.
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