Media equipment was seen being taken out of the Ambassador Hotel, where Al Jazeera's Jerusalem office is based
Media equipment was seen being taken out of the Ambassador Hotel, where Al Jazeera's Jerusalem office is based

Al Jazeera office raided as Israel takes channel off air

Israel's government has moved to shut down the operations of the Al Jazeera television network in the country, branding it a mouthpiece for Hamas.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the cabinet agreed to the closure while the war in Gaza is ongoing.

Police raided the Qatari broadcaster's office at the Ambassador hotel in Jerusalem on Sunday.

Al Jazeera called claims it was a threat to Israeli security a "dangerous and ridiculous lie".

The channel said it reserved the right to "pursue every legal step".
Israel's Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi said equipment had been taken in the raid.

A video posted by the minister on X shows police officers and inspectors from the ministry entering a hotel room.

A BBC team visited the scene, but was prevented from filming or going into the hotel by police.

According to Reuters news agency, the Israeli satellite service Yes displayed a message that read: "In accordance with the government decision, the Al Jazeera station's broadcasts have been stopped in Israel."

The blockage is effectively only partial, however, as the channel is still accessible through Facebook in Israel.
The shut down of Al Jazeera in Israel has been criticised by a number of human rights and press groups.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) said they had filed a request to the country's Supreme Court to issue an interim order to overturn the ban.

The group said that claims that the broadcaster was a propaganda tool for Hamas were "unfounded", and that Sunday's ban was less about security concerns and more to "serve a more politically motivated agenda, aimed at silencing critical voices and targeting Arab media".

The Foreign Press Association (FPA) urged the Israeli government to reconsider its decision, saying the shut down of Al Jazeera in the country should be "a cause for concern for all supporters of a free press".

The FPA said in a statement that Israel now joins "a dubious club of authoritarian governments to ban the station", and warned that Mr Netanyahu has the authority to target other foreign outlets that he considers to be "acting against the state".

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