Dozens of Israeli forces have raided the headquarters of a Palestinian radio station in the occupied West Bank overnight and shut down the media outlet for six months.
Al-Hurria station in the city of al-Khalil (Hebron) was shut down “for content inciting violence and encouraging terrorism,” an army spokeswoman said on Thursday, without providing further details.
The Israeli forces also confiscated technical equipment during the raid, a source at the station said.
The station has been informed it would be closed until April.
“We thought it was related to the campaign of arrests but were surprised to see they were targeting the radio's premises,” al-Hurria’s Director Ayman al-Qawasmi said.
“Unfortunately, they destroyed everything inside the building, there is nothing left. They confiscated broadcasting equipment, microphones,” he added.
An AFP photographer at the scene described the damage as “considerable,” with equipment and signs torn from walls and furniture upturned.
The Union of Palestinian Journalists slammed the measure as an “awful and heinous crime which reflects the (Israelis’) barbaric, criminal, terrorist mentality towards Palestinian media.”
Al-Hurria, which means freedom in Arabic, was previously closed for six months in November 2015 immediately after the outbreak of a fresh wave of conflicts in the occupied territories.
The Israeli army continues crackdown on Palestinian media outlets over allegations that they prompt young Palestinians to engage in armed clashes against Israeli forces in the West Bank.
In August 2016, Israeli officials stormed the office of Palestinian Arabic-language Radio Sanabel in the town of Dura, southwest of al-Khalil (Hebron) and took it off the air over what they described as its attempts to further escalate tensions in the occupied West Bank.
The Israeli forces also ransacked the building, and confiscated the radio’s broadcasting equipment.
The occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed new tension ever since Israeli forces introduced restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in August 2015.
More than 300 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since the beginning of October 2015.