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Israel targets Al Jazeera offices; to take the network off-air

Israel targets Al Jazeera offices; to take the network off-air

Communications Minister Ayoub Kara told a press conference that he meant to ask the Government Press Office, an official body in charge of issuing press cards, to revoke the credentials of Israel-based Al-Jazeera's reporters.

"[We] will follow up the subject through appropriate legal and judicial procedures".

The revocation of credentials includes journalists from Al Jazeera's Arabic and English news networks.

Al Jazeera journalists have been arrested in Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan have shut down its offices in their respective countries.

Ayoub Kara, the country's communication minister, alleged Sunday during a news conference that Al Jazeera is inciting violence in its Arabic and English-language channels. The closure of Al-Jazeera's offices would come under the remit of security officials.

Netanyahu had said on July 27 that he wanted Al-Jazeera expelled amid tensions over a sensitive Jerusalem holy site.

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Accusing Al Jazeera of incitement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed last month to shut down its Jerusalem bureau amid clashes between Israeli authorities and Palestinian worshipers over access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque site in Jerusalem's Old City. Netanyahu tweeted his congratulations to Kara "who on my instructions took concrete steps to end Al-Jazeera's incitement" in Israel.

Al Jazeera reported on its website that it was blocked from attending the news conference where Mr Kara made the announcement.

Journalists working for the station in Israel said they did not expect imminent moves against them and Walid al-Omari, the broadcaster's bureau chief in Jerusalem, said his office has not been informed by Israeli officials of any possible measures the government might take.

The ministry added that it had become "ridiculous that the channel continued to broadcast from Israel". "If this does not happen because of legal interpretation, I will work to enact the required legislation to expel Al Jazeera from Israel", Netanyahu added.

"Our coverage of events in the palestinian territories is professional and objective, and the Israelis have acknowledged a few times because we are keen to present the views and their opposites", he said.

New security measures imposed by Israel after two policemen were killed nearby sparked protests by Palestinians, and the Israeli government eventually removed the security apparatus, which included metal detectors.


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