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Israeli airstrikes target Palestinian TV station in Gaza

July 29, 2014 5:47 P.M. (Updated: July 30, 2014 9:54 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli warplanes targeted offices belonging to the al-Aqsa TV station early Tuesday, a Palestinian media group said.

The Palestinian Journalist Bloc said in a statement Israeli forces struck the Hamas-affiliated station's offices in the al-Nasser neighborhood, the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood, and the al-Rimal neighborhoods of Gaza City.

Al-Aqsa's broadcast stopped briefly after the strike on the al-Rimal neighborhood, although no injuries were reported.

The Bloc condemned what it called "crimes against journalists and media."

Hamas' station plays a "central role in managing the media battle against the Israeli lies," the Bloc said.

It said al-Aqsa channel was crucial for providing information on the ground in Gaza to several other Arabic media organizations.

The Israeli army confirmed the strikes on al-Aqsa's offices in an emailed statement.

Strikes "targeted the propaganda dissemination capabilities used to broadcast the messages of (Hamas') military wing," the statement said.

"'Al-Aqsa' station broadcast capabilities are used to incite Palestinians against Israel, to transit orders and messages to Hamas operatives and to instruct Gaza residents to ignore IDF (army) warnings regarding upcoming military activity in specific areas."

During Israel's last major offensive on Gaza, Israel targeted two of the station's cameramen in addition to targeting its office.

According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, an Israeli warplane fired a missile at a car on Nov. 20, 2012, killing Hussam Muhammad Abd al-Rahman Salama and Mahmoud Ali Ahmad al-Koumi.

Days earlier, Israel had struck al-Aqsa's office in the al-Shorouq building in western Gaza City. The building housed offices several other media organizations, and six journalists were injured.

PCHR and other rights organizations condemned the attacks, saying Israel was deliberately targeting journalists.
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