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Hamas says Israel banned Al Jazeera to cover up truth in Gaza

Palestine’s Hamas says Israel’s ban on Al Jazeera is a flagrant violation of freedom of speech.

The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas says the Israeli regime’s decision to ban Al Jazeera is a bid to avenge the international news network’s coverage of the war in Gaza and its campaign to expose Israel’s crimes in the territory. 

Hamas issued a statement on Sunday saying that the decision by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet earlier in the day to shut down local activities of Al Jazeera was a flagrant violation of freedom of press.

It said Netanyahu’s decision represents a war on those journalists who have been subject to Israel’s systematic terrorism and its efforts to cover up the truth about the war on Gaza.

The group said that targeting Al Jazeera and killing some 141 journalists since the start of the war in early October has laid bare Israel’s fake claims about freedom of speech.

The Israeli cabinet unanimously voted to ban Al Jazeera’s operation in the occupied Palestine as long as the war on Gaza continues. The ban includes closing Al Jazeera's offices in Israeli-controlled territories, confiscating broadcast equipment, cutting off the channel from cable and satellite companies and blocking its websites.

Reports said plainclothes officers of the Israeli police had raided Al Jazeera’s de facto office in a hotel in east of the occupied city of al-Quds on Sunday to dismantle camera equipment.

The Qatar-based Al Jazeera has been a key source of news from Gaza in the nearly seven months since the start of the Israeli aggression on the Palestinian territory.

The news network says several of its journalists have been deliberately targeted and killed by the Israelis during the Gaza conflict.

Al Jazeera said in a statement in Arabic on the X platform that it reserved the right to “pursue every legal step” to reverse the ban.

“We condemn and denounce this criminal act by Israel that violates the human right to access information,” it said.

'Dark day for media and democracy'

The Foreign Press Association (FPA) censured Israel's decision to shut down Al Jazeera, calling it a "dark day for the media" and a "dark day for democracy."

"With this decision, Israel joins a dubious club of authoritarian governments to ban the station," the FPA wrote in a statement.

The association warned that Al Jazeera may not be the only target of the regime as Netanyahu can go after other foreign media that he deems to be "acting against" the regime.

It further urged on Israel to "reverse this harmful step."

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