IDF soldiers raid Palestinian media offices in Ramallah

Troops seize documents, equipment ‘used for incitement’ at Palmedia, army says; PA condemns operation

Illustrative photo of IDF soldiers in Ramallah, July 24, 2017. (Flash90)
Illustrative photo of IDF soldiers in Ramallah, July 24, 2017. (Flash90)

IDF soldiers early on Saturday raided the offices of a Palestinian media group in the West Bank city of Ramallah, seizing equipment and documents.

The Palmedia group headquarters were raided on suspicion of incitement to terror in its broadcasts and other news content, the Israeli military indicated.

The Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that several offices working with Palmedia, a media production company that provides broadcast services to other media outlets, were also broken into by Israeli forces.

Wafa said the offices were “ransacked,” and some damage was caused to the property.

It also reported that residents hurled stones at the soldiers as they left the area.

Palestinian news agency Ma’an said at least 10 IDF vehicles had surrounded the Ramallah headquarters of the company before the raid, according to witnesses.

An IDF spokesperson told Ma’an that the soldiers “seized media equipment and documents used for incitement” from the offices, adding that the raid was part of “ongoing efforts against incitement.”

The Palestinian Ministry of Information condemned the raid, saying in a statement that it “proves Israel’s intentions to prevent the guardians of truth from continuing their media, national, and ethical role of transferring the message of our people’s desired freedom.”

Israel has long accused the Palestinian Authority headed by Mahmoud Abbas of incitement against Israel and Israelis, through educational programs and media, and has blamed Palestinian incitement for the waves of violence over the past few years.

The raid came a day after tensions surrounding the Temple Mount in Jerusalem appeared to have abated following some two weeks of clashes and violence after the installation of security measures at entrances to the site in the wake of a July 14 terror attack in which terrorists shot dead two Israeli police officers using weapons they had smuggled onto the holy compound.

The security equipment angered Palestinians who then launched near-daily riots in and around East Jerusalem and the West Bank and boycotted the site, praying in protest in the streets surrounding the compound.

Under heavy pressure from Jordan, which administers the site — the third-holiest in Islam — Israel rolled back the security measures on Thursday and worshipers returned to pray. Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque at the Temple Mount, which also houses the Dome of the Rock, ended peacefully.

The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism and is revered as the site of the destroyed biblical temples.

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