Jerusalem: The Israeli army on Tuesday raided a Palestinian radio station and confiscated equipment making it inoperable for alleged incitement against Israeli citizens leading to the recent surge in violence in the Jewish state.
The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) this morning raided offices of radio station Minbar Al-Hurriah 92.7 FM in the West Bank city of Hebron, which has witnessed a series of bloody clashes between Palestinians and Israelis recently, and ordered that it be shut down.
"The IDF will continue to take steps using every legal means at its disposal against the attackers and those assisting them to provide security to the residents of the state of Israel. The operation confiscating the equipment and closing the station is a necessary step in eliminating the incitement the results of which have been seen on the ground over the past month," a statement from the Israeli army said.
The Hebron area in the West Bank has seen 29 attacks carried out by Palestinians, 22 of them attempts to stab with knives, with Israeli the defence establishment contending that "a campaign of lies and incitement" surrounding the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem has led to the situation.
Israeli leaders have put a lot of effort in trying to clarify that there is no attempt by the Jewish state to change the status quo at the Temple Mount, referred to as Haram al-Sharif by Muslims, that houses the holy mosque but several Islamic factions in the region have blamed the Israeli government for attempting to take over the site.
Palestinian residents of Hebron have also been involved in attacks elsewhere in Israel, including Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Petah Tikva, Kiryat Gat, and Rishon Letzion.
Ayman Qawasmi, the director of the radio station was quoted in the local media as saying that a large Israeli army unit marched into the station's office in the Palestinian -controlled section of Hebron and seized equipment before handing the staff an order closing it for six months.
"Israel says that the station is inciting violence because we say youth are being executed," Qawasmi told Voice of Palestine radio.
The soldiers also reportedly summoned two on-air radio staffers, Mahmoud Aqnibi and Mohammed Abidu, for questioning.
The Palestinians counter Israeli claims by saying that the stalled peace process has left them frustrated on the creation of an independent Palestinian state and ongoing Israeli construction activities in the West Bank makes them hopeless.
Eleven Israelis and 69 Palestinians, 43 of them trying to carry out stabbing attacks, have been killed in the recent escalation in violence.