Gaza authorities close Al-Arabiya office over 'false news'

Gaza authorities close Al-Arabiya office over 'false news'

GAZA - Agence France-Presse
Authorities in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on July 25 closed local offices of Al-Arabiya TV and Palestinian news agency Maan for alleged "false" reporting of Hamas help for Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.

"The Attorney General decided to close down Al-Arabiya and Maan offices in Gaza for distributing false news regarding the smear campaign against Hamas and Gaza about what's happening in Egypt," a Hamas official told AFP.

A Maan staffer and a Hamas official, who both requested anonymity, told AFP the agency was being temporarily closed for a report - citing Israeli sources - saying that Hamas gave refuge in a Gaza hotel to fugitive leaders of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

Saudi-owned pan-Arab channel Al-Arabiya did not immediately reveal the reasons for its office closure.

"We received the closure notice and an official statement from Al-Arabiya will be published to respond to this decision," its Gaza correspondent, Islam Abd Al Kareem, told AFP.

On July 14, Egyptian investigators began questioning ousted President Mohamed Morsi and members of his Muslim Brotherhood over their escape from jail during the 2011 uprising that put them in power.

The inquiry relates to the escape by Morsi and dozens of Brotherhood members from Wadi Natrun prison during the revolt that ended former president Hosni Mubarak's three-decade rule.

An Egyptian court in June found that the Islamist Hamas rulers of Gaza and Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah movement helped prisoners.

Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president, was toppled in a military coup on July 3 after millions of people took to the streets calling on him to step down.