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Arson attack on Ma`an office condemned

July 10, 2011 7:47 A.M. (Updated: July 12, 2011 10:16 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Representatives of Palestinian factions and media outlets visited Ma'an's office in Gaza City on Sunday, condemning an apparent arson attack against the TV and radio network.

Head of the Organization of Palestinian NGOs Amjad Ash-Shawwa condemned what he called “serious assault” and demanded that the authorities in Gaza catch the perpetrators.

Lawmaker Jamil Majdalawi, member of the politburo of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said the attack amounted to a "dark message" which should be condemned and rejected by every means.

However, "Such threats will not intimidate Ma’an," Majdalawi said.

The network is "one of few organizations which serve the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, affirming Palestinian unity. Such specialty should be respected and protected by us all," he urged.

Many other journalists and activists criticized the attack, Ma'an staff in Gaza said.

The government media office in Gaza issued a statement Sunday condemning the attack, which it called a "crime."

The Hamas-dominated government press bureau affirmed their "solidarity with the news agency, urging the security departments to swiftly reveal the perpetrators."

In Ramallah, lawmaker Mustafa Bargouthi denounced the incident: "This attack harms press freedom," he said. "The involved parties should be captured and brought to account."

Earlier, an official from the union of journalists in Gaza said such crimes fall within an ongoing campaign of “muzzling speech” and attempting to restrict freedom of the press.

Yousef Al-Ostath called for an investigation into the attack, which was not the first against Ma'an in Gaza.

Months earlier, a homemade bomb was placed at the entrance of the office. Ma'an opted not to publicize the incident at the advice of police, who said disclosing that threat would harm their investigation.

Seven months later, the authorities have yet to announce any progress in the case.
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