Israel arrests four from pro-Hamas television station

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Israel’s military has arrested four Palestinians in the occupied West Bank from a television station close to Hamas, officials said Monday, after the defense minister branded the channel a terrorist organization.

The military said the arrests of the al-Quds (Jerusalem) TV journalists were made overnight, while equipment and a vehicle were also seized.

The Palestinian journalists’ union said two vehicles were seized in addition to equipment including a television camera. According to the union, those arrested included the channel’s director in the West Bank, Alaa Rimawi, and three journalists.

Rimawi and two others are from Ramallah while the fourth is from a nearby village. They were arrested from their homes, colleagues said.

The military said clashes broke out during the arrest raid and soldiers “responded with riot dispersal means”. Further details were not immediately available. Those arrested “were suspected of incitement and involvement in the Hamas-backed Al-Quds television channel”, it said.

The military said it had in September “declared al-Quds TV as a Hamas mouthpiece and proved a direct association between the channel and the organization”.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman earlier this month signed an order declaring the Lebanon-based satellite television channel a terrorist organization.

Israeli authorities have carried out a series of raids against Palestinian media organizations it accuses of incitement, drawing criticism from press freedom advocates.

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