Israel frees Hamas-linked Palestinian journalist, family says
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Israel frees Hamas-linked Palestinian journalist, family says

West Bank director of Al-Quds TV, arrested in July raid, banned from working for 2 months after network designated a terrorist organization

Israel security forces raid the Al-Quds TV West Bank headquarters in an overnight operation on July 30, 2018. (Al-Quds TV/Facebook)
Israel security forces raid the Al-Quds TV West Bank headquarters in an overnight operation on July 30, 2018. (Al-Quds TV/Facebook)

A Palestinian journalist with a Hamas-linked television channel has been released from Israeli custody but banned from working for two months, his family said Friday.

Ala Rimawi, director of Al-Quds TV network in the West Bank, was freed Wednesday after being detained in late July along with three other journalists, his wife said.

Israel accuses the channel, affiliated with the Hamas terror group, which controls the Gaza Strip, of inciting violence.

He was released but banned from returning to work for at least two months and from speaking to the media, his wife said.

The three other journalists arrested in the nighttime raids on their West Bank homes by the IDF last month have already been released.

Illustrative. Israeli soldiers seen during a raid on the al-Huriya radio station on suspicion of incitement to violence in the West Bank city of Hebron on August 31, 2017. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

There was no immediate reaction from the army.

In recent years, the IDF has shuttered a number of Palestinian TV and radio stations operating in the West Bank over suspected incitement and ties to terror groups.

Israeli leaders have spoken out repeatedly about the threat of incitement in Palestinian media, while Palestinian television programs are cited in Shin Bet security service interrogations of terrorists as sources of inspiration.

Last month, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman signed an order declaring the Al-Quds channel a terrorist organization, accusing the Lebanon-based outlet of being an arm of Hamas.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman visits at an army drill in northern Israel on August 7, 2018. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

“According to up-to-date, reliable, cross-checked and diverse intelligence, the Al-Quds station is a propaganda wing of Hamas, representing a central platform for distributing the terrorist organization’s messages,” the defense minister’s office said in a statement.

The idea to declare the outlet a terrorist organization was proposed by the Shin Bet and the Defense Ministry’s department for fighting terrorist with economic tools, Liberman’s office said.

Hamas, which openly seeks to destroy Israel, slammed the terror designation as an act of “terror,” and accused Israel of clamping down on free speech.

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