Al Jazeera bureau chief detained again

Journalist taken into custody on Sunday for real-time broadcasting of attacks.

By ETGAR LEFKOVITS
July 17, 2006 19:14
1 minute read.
aljazeera logo 88

aljazeera logo 88. (photo credit: )

 
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Israel police on Monday detained the Jerusalem bureau chief of the Arab satellite station Al-Jazeera, for the second time in as many days, the journalist said. Walid Al Omari was first taken into custody on Sunday along with the Israel crew of the Qatar-based satellite Arab TV station for a real-time broadcast of a Hizbullah Katyusha attack on Haifa, which disclosed the area of the rocket attack, in violation of Israeli military censorship guidelines. Eight people were killed and dozens were wounded in the mid-morning attack, the most lethal Hizbullah rocket attack since Israel's withdrawal from South Lebanon six years ago. Military censorship rules ban real-time reporting on the exact location of rocket hits, so as not to help the Lebanese-based Shi'ite terror group refine future attacks. The longstanding security regulations have been accepted by Al Jazeera when they opened their office in Israel. Al-Jazeera said Sunday that Israeli authorities ordered its team away from Haifa's seafront oil refinery after it broadcast live footage from the area shortly after the rockets fell around the city, but the TV station denied breaking the law. "Al-Jazeera hereby expresses its utmost disapproval and strong denunciation of the Israeli authorities obstruction of its coverage of the conflict and reiterates its adherence to internationally recognized professional journalistic standards," the station said in a press release Monday. "The only difference between us and the rest (of the journalists) is that there are people who want to make it difficult for us to do our work after all the incitement against us," Al Omari told Israel Radio as he was being taken into custody in northern Israel. Police said Sunday that the Al Jazeera journalists were questioned about the real-time Katyusha filming incident, and were warned not to do so again. Israeli security officials have repeatedly accused the pan-Arab TV station of broadcasting ultra-sensitive security locations that could be used by Hizbullah to pinpoint targets for a future attack.

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