14:10 GMT28 January 2020
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    Israeli Communications Minister Ayoub Kara on Sunday announced his plans to close offices of the Qatari Al Jazeera broadcaster in the country.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to the outlet, Kara also revealed his plans to revoke Al Jazeera reporters' press passes.

    "I contacted the Public Security Minister [Gilad Erdan] in order to close the [Al Jazeera] network’s offices in Israel. I contacted other sources requesting to restrict the network’s broadcasts to open satellites," Kara said at a press conference as quoted by the Jerusalem Online news outlet.

    "We are going to set measures in order to illustrate our war on terrorism, on radical Islam and our solidarity with the sane Arab world," Kara pointed out.

    Kara's announcement was praised by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who had accused the Doha-based broadcaster of inciting violence in July.

    Later in the day, Doha-based Al Jazeera responded to the plans of Israel to shut down its activities in the country.

    "Al Jazeera stresses that it will closely watch the developments that may result from the Israeli decision, and will take the necessary legal measures towards it," the broadcaster said in the statement condemning the intentions of Israel.

    The media outlet added that it would continue covering the events in Palestine "professionally and accurately."

    The tensions between the Qatari news outlet and Israel escalated since the end of July as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his plans to create legislation that would shut down Al Jazeera's Israeli office over the broadcaster's coverage of the dispute over Israel's restrictions of access to the Muslim holy site on Jerusalem's Temple Mount. The move was harshly criticized by the Qatari broadcaster.

    Apart from criticism from Israel, Al Jazeera has been accused by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain of supporting terrorism in the region. In July, the four countries required Doha to shut down the broadcaster to restore the relations suspended in a diplomatic row over Qatar's alleged role in destabilizing the situation in the Middle East. The ultimatum was however refuted by Doha.


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