Hamas on Thursday deepened its campaign against journalists operating in the Gaza Strip, which the Palestinian terror group controls and over which it has tried to exert increasingly authoritarian rule. Three media companies, including the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television station and the Palestinian news agency Ma’an, were shuttered.
Al Arabiya and Maan employees said Hamas security men had arrived at their offices with an order from the attorney general to shut down immediately and a Hamas spokesman said the step was temporary, until an investigation was concluded.
Employees of the organizations reported that armed Hamas officers had conducted the raids on the basis of an attorney general order. Hamas has long been criticized for attempting to stifle journalistic freedom and for directly endangering journalists. A 2011 incident saw several journalists beaten and harassed for coverage critical of the Palestinian faction.
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