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Israeli forces shut down media launch in Jerusalem

April 2, 2012 4:23 A.M. (Updated: April 11, 2012 12:28 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces raided the Jerusalem office of a university media institute on Monday, shutting down the launch of an online media network and detaining employees.

Plainclothes police shut down the launch of the Hona al-Quds news site in the al-Khalidiya neighborhood of Jerusalem's Old City, and confiscated equipment and files, network director Harun Abu Arrah told Ma'an.

Two employees -- Adel Ruished and Mohannad Izheman -- were detained, and guests attending the launch were blocked from entering.

Employees were presented with an order signed by the Israeli minister of internal security forbidding the event as a banned initiative of the Palestinian Authority, director of Al-Quds University Institute for Modern Media Lucy Nusseibeh told Ma'an.

The university, which launched Hona al-Quds, has been registered as an independent non-governmental organization with Israeli authorities for decades, Nusseibeh added.

The launch was intended to take place simultaneously with the institute's Ramallah office by Skype.

Izheman, a university security guard, has since been released with a summons to return to police offices on Tuesday, and Ruished, the university's Administrative Director of Jerusalem Affairs, is still being held, a university statement said.

Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said the facility was "closed until further notice," on suspicions of use for Palestinian official activity in Jerusalem.

"This is the second attack on our media institution in five weeks -- this is education and not a political project," Nusseibeh said.

In late February, Israeli forces raided the institute's Al-Quds Educational TV in Ramallah-district Al-Bireh and confiscated its broadcasting equipment, claiming it was interrupting legal broadcasting.

The same day, Israeli forces also raided Watan TV's newsroom in Ramallah and seized transmitters.

Reporters Without Borders said at the time it was "deeply shocked" by the raids.

"These arbitrary and illegal operations served yet again to intimidate Palestinian media and journalists, the victims of repeated attacks by the (Israeli army)," the group said in a statement.
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