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Israel preparing to close Al Jazeera offices


Israeli minister says he has called for Al Jazeera press credentials to be revoked.

Israel is preparing to close Qatar-based TV station Al Jazeera offices in Jerusalem, communication minister Ayoob Kara said Sunday.

Kara said he had requested the Government Press Office revoke press credentials of Al-Jazeera’s journalists, the Times of Israel reported.

The move follows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s call for the station’s offices to be shut down, accusing it of inflaming tensions around Al-Aqsa mosque, the Jerusalem holy site where Palestinians staged an almost two-week protest last month against Israeli security measures installed after a deadly shootout.

Any move is expected to be contested in Israel’s courts but Netanyahu said he will work to change the law in order to enforce the ban.

Kara compared the ban to moves by Saudi Arabia and other Arab Gulf countries in the wake of a diplomatic crisis with Qatar.

He said Israel would join the Gulf countries and added: “These countries say the channel [Al Jazeera] is a tool of Daesh, Hezbollah and Iran; we are also supporting this trend.”

Al Jazeera’s Jerusalem Bureau Chief Walid Omary told Anadolu Agency that no official notification has been received from Israeli part so far.

Last week, Omary wrote in Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz that such a move would be “a massive step backwards.”

“What difference then is there between Israel, as a perceived democracy, and these dictatorships?” he wrote.

Source: Anadolu Agency