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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 23 January 2019

Palestinian government broadcaster's offices raided in Gaza

Hamas blamed for attack that left staff injured and equipment destroyed

Armed men raided the headquarters of a Palestinian Authority broadcaster in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip on Friday, causing damage to equipment, station staff said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the incident, though the staff and a PA official said they held Hamas responsible.

Five armed men entered the offices of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation in Gaza City, official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

The organisation is funded by the West Bank-based Palestinian government, which has a longstanding dispute with the Islamist Hamas movement, and the building houses offices for Palestine TV and the Voice of Palestine radio station.

Staff were assaulted and equipment destroyed during the raid, Wafa reported.

"At least five people broke into the building, broke the radio door and completely destroyed the main studio, including cameras, equipment, furniture and broadcasting equipment," a staffer at the radio station said.

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AFP correspondents at the scene found a number of video cameras and computers badly damaged, with chairs and doors destroyed.

"We hold the Hamas authorities fully responsible for this crime of breaking into the headquarters and destroying them," Ahmed Assaf, the PA general supervisor for official media, said in a statement.

"This is an attack against our people in Gaza."

An employee inspects the damage at Palestinian government-run radio and television stations in Gaza after a raid by armed men on January 4, 2019. AFP
An employee inspects the damage at Palestinian government-run radio and television stations in Gaza after a raid by armed men on January 4, 2019. AFP

Salameh Maarouf, director of the Hamas-run media office, said in a statement that it condemned the "unacceptable behaviour" and called for the perpetrators to be arrested.

Hamas seized control of Gaza from the West Bank-based government in a 2007 near civil war, and repeated attempts at reconciliation have failed.

Palestine TV stopped working completely following the 2007 seizure, resuming work partially in 2011.

Updated: January 4, 2019 06:33 PM

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