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Israel to shut down ‘Hamas trumpet’ Al Jazeera

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Sunday the government’s decision to close the Qatar-based news channel Al Jazeera, citing national security concerns and a long-standing feud with the broadcaster.

In a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter, Netanyahu declared, “the incitement channel Al Jazeera will be closed in Israel.”

Accompanying him, Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi emphasized, “There will be no freedom of speech for the Hamas trumpets in Israel.”

The decision includes the immediate closure of Al Jazeera’s offices in Israel and the confiscation of its broadcasting equipment. Karhi issued an order to seize devices used for content delivery, such as cameras, microphones, servers, and laptops, as well as wireless transmission equipment.

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Reacting to the move, Walid Al-Omari, head of Al Jazeera’s offices in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, criticized the decision as part of a campaign by extreme right-wing ministers seeking easy victories.

Al-Omari confirmed that the broadcaster had been notified of the closure of its offices in Israel and the confiscation of its broadcasting devices. Additionally, restrictions will be imposed on Al Jazeera’s websites, although these measures will not extend to the Israeli-occupied West Bank or the Gaza Strip.

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The decision follows the passage of a new national security law in Israel, granting top ministers the authority to ban broadcasts by foreign channels deemed a threat to national security and to close their offices.

Netanyahu’s government has long been at odds with Al Jazeera, particularly over its coverage of events in the region. The feud escalated during the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas, with Al Jazeera’s reporting drawing criticism from Israeli officials.

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The ongoing conflict has resulted in significant casualties on both sides, with civilians bearing the brunt of the violence.

Al Jazeera, like other media outlets, has faced challenges in reporting from the conflict zone, with several of its journalists killed or injured in Israeli airstrikes.

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