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IDF raids private Palestinian television station

Troops reportedly seize equipment, files, forcing station off the air; station is owned by NGOs, broadcasts local news.

February 29, 2012 11:08
IDF soldiers patrol during a raid [file]

IDF soldiers patrol during a raid 390 (R). (photo credit: Abed Omar Qusini / Reuters)

RAMALLAH - IDF soldiers raided a Palestinian television station in the  West Bank on Wednesday and seized broadcast equipment, computers and files, an employee said.

Ahmed Milhem said soldiers gave no reason for the raid on privately-owned Watan TV in Ramallah, which began at 0200 a.m. (1200 GMT) and lasted for three hours.

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"They seized computers, broadcast equipment and administrative files," Milhem told Reuters by telephone. "The station is now off the air," he added.

An IDF military spokeswoman said she had no initial information but was checking for details.

The television station is owned by local non-governmental organizations and broadcasts local news and cultural and political programs over the Internet.

Ramallah is the seat of the Palestinian Authority, which Israel has accused of not doing enough to fight incitement against the Jewish state. The Palestinians say Israeli raids undermine their authority over West Bank areas under their civilian control.

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