Israel troops raid Palestinian newspaper offices

AFP , Wednesday 28 May 2014

Israeli soldiers Wednesday raided the offices of a Palestinian newspaper in the West Bank city of Ramallah, managers said, ordering them to stop printing publications by the Islamist movement Hamas.

"Officers informed us that Israel would not allow the printing and distribution of Falastin, Al-Resala, and Al-Istiqlal," three Hamas newspapers, the West Bank-based daily Al-Ayyam's managers said in a statement.

Al-Ayyam has been printing the three papers since April, when a surprise reconciliation deal between Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, and their rivals Fatah brought the Islamist group's publications back to West Bank newsstands.

The soldiers threatened to take "concrete steps" towards stopping Falastin, Al-Resala and Al-Istiqlal being printed at l-Ayyam offices in the West Bank administrative centre of Ramallah, the statement said.

Israel's army had no immediate comment.

On April 23, Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organisation -- which Fatah dominates -- revealed a reconciliation deal under which they would work together to form a new government of political independents.

That was seized upon by Israel, which said it would not negotiate with any Palestinian government backed by Hamas, putting the final nail in the coffin of the latest round of US-brokered peace talks.

Earlier this month, Al-Quds daily, published in the West Bank, became available again in Gaza for the first time since Hamas drove Fatah out of the territory in a week of bloody fighting in 2007.

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