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Hamas forces detain satirical journalist in Gaza

Jan. 4, 2016 5:41 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 1, 2016 8:11 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas security forces on Sunday detained Palestinian journalist and satirist Ayman al-Aloul in the Gaza Strip, his wife told Ma'an.

His wife said that al-Aloul was arrested from their home by Gaza's internal security service, who also confiscated her and her husband's mobile phones and laptops.

Al-Aloul is best known for the outspoken satirical reports he publishes on Youtube, using both formal and colloquial Arabic to draw attention to the difficulties of life in the Gaza Strip.

He also works as a news editor for Arab Alaan (Arabs Now) news agency, and reports for the Iraqi al-Furat (Euphrates) television channel.

During the 2014 Gaza war, al-Aloul received significant attention for a video report he published in response to the "Ice Bucket Challenge," in which people posted videos of themselves pouring a bucket of icy water over themselves on social media to draw attention to ALS disease.

Al-Aloul in his report said that there was not enough water in Gaza to take part in the social media phenomenon and no way to make it cold, and so instead he poured a bucket of rubble over his head to highlight the destruction of Gaza.

Separately on Sunday, Facebook activists reported that Hamas security forces had detained another young activist identified as Ramzi Hirzallah.

The past two years have seen a significant rise in the number of violations against Palestinian press freedoms.

In its last biannual report, Palestinian press freedoms watchdog MADA said that the first half of 2015 had seen "an unprecedented rise" in violations against journalists in the West Bank and Gaza by Palestinian authorities.

The watchdog reported that the first half of the year saw 110 violations, up from 54 violations in the first half of 2014.

It attributed the significant rise "largely to the 'new wave' of tension between Hamas and Fatah, which was reflected as usual on the reality of media freedoms and freedom of expression."
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