More than 70 Palestinian journalists have been targeted by the Islamist terror organization Hamas during recent civil rights protests against the group’s misrule in the Gaza Strip, The Jerusalem Post reported Thursday.
Mohammed al-Lahham, a senior official with the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), said during a press conference in Ramallah that Hamas, which exercises complete political and military control over Gaza, had engaged in criminal behavior.
Based on testimony collected by PJS, al-Lahham said, the number of journalists who were arrested, beaten, or summoned for interrogation by the terror group’s security forces was much higher than anticipated.
“We have collected testimonies from several journalists who were subjected to various forms of assaults, including arrests, beatings, confiscation of equipment, raids on their homes and threats,” Latham explained. “A number of journalists have been placed under house arrest and warned not to cover the protests. This ban has affected hundreds of media organizations in the Gaza Strip and is a sign of the magnitude of Hamas terror and intimidation against the media.”
He said that several Palestinian journalists only spoke on the condition of anonymity about the mistreatment they had suffered at the hands of Hamas out of fear of being punished by the terror group. Hamas, al-Lahham said, has also threatened families of journalists who are currently working outside the Gaza Strip.
Though Hamas canceled its so-called Great March of Return last Friday, hundreds of Gazans in Deir el-Balah and Khan Younis protested the poor living conditions under the terror group. Hamas has been trying to suppress news of the events.
A reporter for Agence France-Presse said that the Islamist organization has been preventing journalists from photographing the protests. Osama Kahalut, a news photographer, was arrested by the terror group. “They beat me with various types of clubs and sticks,” he said. “They beat me so hard in my office that I tried to jump out of the window of the first floor to save my life.”
Fatah, the faction headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, accused the terror group of beating and severely injuring its spokesman. The attack on Ateh Abu Seif, a Gaza-based spokesman for Fatah, as well as a member of its central committee, was reported by Wafa, a Fatah-affiliated news agency. He was reportedly beaten in his own home by a group of men.
Mahmoud Aloul, deputy chairman of Fatah, charged that Hamas had attempted to carry out an assassination of a rival.
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