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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 January 2019

Hamas arrests five over Gaza TV station raid

Palestinian Authority accuses the enclave’s rulers of responsibility for the incident

Employees inspect damaged equipment at Palestinian government-run radio and television stations in Gaza after they were ransacked by armed men. Reuters
Employees inspect damaged equipment at Palestinian government-run radio and television stations in Gaza after they were ransacked by armed men. Reuters

Gaza’s Hamas authorities arrested five men suspected of ransacking the offices of the Palestinian Authority’s media headquarters in the enclave.

The men detained on Saturday were accused of destroying cameras and editing and broadcasting equipment, worth up to $150,000 (Dh550,875), in the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation in Gaza city on Friday.

The media centre is funded by the West Bank-based Palestinian government and houses Palestine TV and the Voice of Palestine radio station.

Staff and an authority official initially blamed the raid on Hamas but the movement said disgruntled PA employees were to blame.

The Hamas-run Interior Ministry said all five suspects were “employees of the Palestinian Authority whose salaries have been cut recently”. It said one of the accused was a Palestine TV employee whose salary was cut last month.

There was no immediate response from the PA.

Hamas and the PA are battling for influence in Gaza.

The PA is aggrieved that Hamas prevents its supporters from commemorating the anniversary of the founding of the Fatah party, which dominates the Palestinian government.

Hamas took Gaza from the PA in 2007, a year after winning elections that were not accepted by much of the international community.

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Despite losing power in Gaza, the PA continues to pay tens of thousands of civil servants working there.

But it reduced salaries in recent years because of financial shortfalls, upsetting many employees.

Hamas has accused the PA of trying to pressure the movement into giving up power.

Egypt has long tried to mediate between the two Palestinian factions but a deal that would give control of Gaza to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas failed to materialise because of Hamas concerns about giving up power.

Palestinians are concerned that their battle for equal rights and sovereignty is being hampered by the split and only aids Israel, which continues to build illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank and is persisting with its siege of Gaza.

Updated: January 6, 2019 06:15 PM

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