Israeli government blocks Al Jazeera from broadcasting

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that Al Jazeera is to be shut down in Israel.

Mr Netanyahu accused the Qatari-owned network of "incitement" and said the cabinet decision had been unanimous.

Al Jazeera condemned the move as "criminal".

Foreign journalists are banned from entering Gaza and Al Jazeera staff there have been some of the only reporters on the ground.

For years, Israeli officials have accused the network of anti-Israeli bias.

But their criticisms of the broadcaster have intensified since the Hamas attacks on 7 October, in which 1,200 people were killed and more than 250 were taken hostage. 128 of those hostages are still unaccounted for - and among them, at least 34 are presumed dead.

At least 34,683 Palestinians have been killed and 78,018 injured in Gaza since 7 October, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

Authorities say Al Jazeera has close links with Hamas, which the network vehemently denies.

Last month, the Israeli parliament passed a law giving the government the power to temporarily close foreign broadcasters considered to be a threat to national security during the war against Hamas.

Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi said the ban "will go into effect immediately".

It needs to be recertified every 45 days.

According to the temporary order, it could also result in the closure of offices, removal of its website and seizure of equipment.

Qatar, where Al Jazeera is headquartered, is mediating talks between Israel and Hamas over the now almost seven-month long conflict. Previous negotiations mediated by Qatar led to a temporary ceasefire and the release of 105 Israeli hostages.

The channel has accused Israel of deliberately targeting its staff.

Journalists including Hamza Al-Dahdouh, the son of Al Jazeera Gaza bureau chief Wael Al-Dahdouh, have been killed by Israeli strikes. Israel denies targeting journalists.

"Israel's suppression of free press to cover up its crimes by killing and arresting journalists has not deterred us from performing our duty," the network said in its response after Sunday's ban.

Source: BBC

Thu 15:00
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