Friday, September 20, 2019

Wafa news agency stormed by Israeli soldiers


By Ana Thorne - December 12, 2018
TAGS:
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [raids] [press freedom]

Palestinian Wafa news agency offices in the city of Ramallah were stormed by dozens of heavily armed Israeli soldiers on December 10, sparking a wave of condemnation on the day of the 70th anniversary celebration adoption of the Declaration of Human Rights by the UN General Assembly.
 
Wafa News Editor-in-chief Khouloud Assaf said Israeli soldiers had thrown gas bombs and deafening stun grenades from the windows and balconies of the Agency's headquarters.
 
"Israeli soldiers fired tear gas inside the building causing suffocation by journalists inside the headquarters," Wafa agency stated.
 
"The soldiers broke into the reception room and seized video tapes and surveillance cameras after forcing the employees to stay in a room," the agency added.
 
According to Assaf, the “occupation army detained the agency's staff in a room, took the server room, seized the recordings, camera tapes, and photographers' cameras.”
 
Assaf added that "Israeli soldiers threw a deafening bomb on the fourth floor of the agency to intimidate journalists, as well as a gas grenade on the balcony of the newsroom on the second floor of the building, causing the suffocation of all journalists.”
 
The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PCJ) in a statement condemned the Israeli army's targeting of Wafa's headquarters, calling the attack "a new crime against the Palestinian media.”
 
The PCJ said it would follow up on “this dangerous attack" with all international organizations including the International Federation of Journalists and the Arab Journalists Union "in accordance with international law.”
 
For his part, Assaf condemned the Israeli army raid on the headquarters of the Palestinian press agency.
 
"This crime is one of the series committed by the occupation forces against the official media," he told Palestinian television.
 
"This will not prevent us from doing our work with our people and exposing occupation crimes to the world." In his view, this attack will see "a strong protest from all organizations to hold Israel to responsible for his crimes,” he added.
 
This is also proof that Israel "ignores" all the international conventions, UN resolutions and all the laws that govern journalistic work around the world.
 
The Palestinian presidency expressed "its rejection and condemnation" of the continuation of incursions into the "all-out" Palestinian territories, stressing "that they (these incursions) constitute a flagrant violation of all signed agreements.”
 
In addition to the Ministry of Information, the Foreign Affairs Department also condemned the attack, calling on the international community, the International Federation of Journalists and relevant international organizations to "act quickly" to ensure the international protection of the Palestinian people and to pressure on Israel to stop its violations and crimes.
 

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