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Hamas: Twitter 'sides with the occupation'

April 17, 2016 3:33 P.M. (Updated: April 18, 2016 12:40 P.M.)
An Israeli soldier runs past a flag belonging to the ruling Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip, on Nov, 17, 2012. (AFP/Abbas Momani, File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Hamas' military wing responded to the recent closure of their spokesperson’s Twitter account on Saturday by saying it proved the effectiveness of the brigades in delivering their message.

In a statement on the Hamas movement’s website Saturday, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades spokesperson Abu Ubaida said that “Twitter’s persistence in shutting down our accounts shows that our true voices have exposed the Zionist enemy and its proxies.”

After Abu Ubaida’s account -- followed by 196,000 -- was shut down Friday, he promptly opened a new one the following day.

Twitter previously closed all the official accounts of the brigades in Arabic, Hebrew, and English in March, which collectively had over 200,000 followers.

The move was part of the social media company’s campaign to combat the spread of Islamic extremism on the site, which has seen some 125,000 accounts linked to “terrorists” deleted since mid-2015, predominately targeting the Islamic State group.

“We condemn the use of Twitter to promote terrorism and the Twitter rules make it clear that this type of behavior, or any violent threat, is not permitted on our service,” Twitter said in a statement published on their website in February.

Many have pointed out the ineffectiveness of the campaign, as groups simply open new accounts after they are shut down.

During Israel’s 50-day assault on the Gaza Strip in 2014, Twitter also deleted all accounts associated with Hamas.

Hamas said it was emboldened by Twitter’s efforts and that it would continue to spread the movement’s message to its millions of supporters worldwide.

Abu Ubaida said that shutting down accounts amounted to censorship in favor of Israel by Twitter, a company that has long defined itself as a platform for free speech and open discussion.

“Twitter chose to side with the (Israeli) occupation, which refutes its claims of honesty and impartiality.”
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