Hamas gunmen blamed for the raid on Palestinian TV station in Gaza
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Masked gunmen ransacked the headquarters of the government-controlled Palestinian Broadcast Corporation in Gaza. The Palestinian Authority has blamed militant group Hamas for the raid.
Five masked men armed with pistols, batons, and knives stormed the network’s headquarters, located in Gaza City’s relatively affluent Tel al-Hawa neighborhood, on Friday morning, Palestinian news agency WAFA reported. Once inside, they trashed equipment including cameras, computers and transmission gear, according to WAFA. The assailants also destroyed the station’s videotape archives and slashed portraits of PA leader Mahmoud Abbas and late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Minister Ahmad Assaf, the PA’s top media official, blamed the militant group Hamas for the attack. Another government spokesman described the raid as “barbaric attack by mercenaries and paid squads of chaos.”
Hamas has denied responsibility, and condemned the attack as “unacceptable.”
Based in the West Bank, The Palestinian Authority is the governing body of Palestine and controls the PBC, while Hamas has functioned as Gaza’s de-facto government since 2007.
Aside from their mutual opposition to the state of Israel, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have been locked into a power struggle in recent years. Hamas has accused the PA of slashing salaries for civil servants in Gaza to weaken support for the Islamist movement, and Israel’s Shin Bet security agency claimed in 2014 to have foiled a plot by Hamas to send operatives to the West Bank and violently depose Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Friday’s attack comes one day after Israeli soldiers shot and wounded a Palestinian TV reporter in the northern West Bank city of Nablus. The journalist was shot in the leg with a rubber bullet and rushed to hospital, according to Palestine TV.
Minister Assaf also criticized Thursday’s shooting in his statement of the most recent raid. The reporter, he said, was injured “while reporting on the crimes of the occupation.”