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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Blast rocks Al Arabiya television office in Gaza City; no injuries

Last update - 23:55 22/01/2007   
Blast rocks Al Arabiya television office in Gaza City; no injuries
By Reuters

An explosion ripped through the office of Al Arabiya television in Gaza City on Monday, causing no injuries but extensive damage, police said.
The cause of the blast at the newsroom, which was empty at the time, was unknown. The explosion destroyed the outside door of the office of the Dubai-based Arabic satellite television station and damaged some walls inside.
Militant groups Hamas and the Fatah-linked al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades condemned the attack. Palestinian journalists in Gaza said they would hold a strike on Tuesday to protest against the bombing.
Arabiya executive editor Nabil al-Khatib said in Dubai the television station had received threats against its office but it was not clear if the blast was linked to the threats.
The explosion also smashed the door of the office of Reuters News Agency across the hallway.
Witnesses said Arabiya employees had not arrived at work for several days because of anonymous telephone threats following a tape the station had aired of Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of the governing militant Hamas group.
Hamas has denied involvement in the explosion and says it did not threaten anyone from the network.
"It is not of Hamas policy to target journalists or other people because of a difference in opinion," said Hamas spokesman Ismail Rudwan. "Hamas condemns the attack. We do not rule out the attempts of a third party who wants to cause more tensions."
Hamas had said following the broadcast that Haniyeh's comments were broadcast in a way that took his words out of context and vowed to pursue legal action against Arabiya.
The station has said that it had shown an unedited recording that was taken from a Palestinian Web site.
Hamas and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah group have been engaged in a power struggle since Hamas won a parliamentary election in January last year.
Palestinian police arrived to survey the damage and launched an investigation into the blast.

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