Israel's Netanyahu declares Palestinian TV station a 'terrorist organisation'
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday designated Palestinian Al-Aqsa TV station as a "terrorist organisation".
The Hamas-run media centre was established in 2006 and has been bombed multiple times during Israeli military offensives on the besieged Gaza Strip.
It was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike in November amid an escalation in violence, with Hamas officials condemning the incident as an "act of aggression against journalism".
The station incurred heavy structural damage in the airstrike and was forced to temporarily stop broadcasting a month later due to financial problems.
Netanyahu's office said the decision to designate the channel as a terrorist organisation was taken on the recommendation of the Israel's Shin Bet security forces.
Israel's internal security agency alleged that the TV channel was being used to recruit Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem to carry out attacks on Israel.
The report alleged that Al-Aqsa TV was using quotes from the Quran and subtle gestures by presenters to broadcast messages from Hamas members to recruits.
Al-Aqsa TV called the intelligence report a "joke", and said it amounted to "cheap incitement" against Palestinian media.
Hamas officials on Wednesday condemned Netanyahu's decision as part of his "election propaganda", warning that it puts the lives of Palestinian journalists in Gaza at risk.
Israeli forces have killed at least two journalists in Gaza since demonstrations began last year on 30 March.
Yaser Murtaja, a cameraman for Ain Media, was shot while wearing a vest clearly marked PRESS in April 2018 and later died from his injuries.
In the same month, Ahmed Hussein, a Palestinian photojournalist, was shot in the stomach while covering demonstrations for Voice of the People radio and later succumbed to his wounds.