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Netanyahu’s cabinet votes to close Al Jazeera offices in Israel

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that his government has voted unanimously to close the local offices of Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera.

Netanyahu announced the decision on

The decision escalated Israel’s long-standing feud against Al Jazeera. The country also threatened to increase tensions with Qatar, which owns the channel, at a time when the Doha government is playing a key role in mediating efforts to halt terror attacks. war in Gaza.

Israel has long had a rocky relationship with Al Jazeera and accuses the company of bias.

Al Jazeera is one of the few international media outlets that remained in Gaza during the war. They broadcast bloody images of air raids and overcrowded hospitals and accuse Israel of massacres. Israel accuses Al Jazeera of collaborating with Hamas.

Al Jazeera, the Doha-based broadcaster funded by the Qatari government, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Arabic-language broadcaster Al Jazeera acknowledged the news in its broadcast on Sunday. The English branch continued to operate with live images from East Jerusalem just minutes after Netanyahu’s announcement.

While Al Jazeera’s English operations often resemble the programming of other major broadcast networks, its Arab branch often publishes verbatim video statements from Hamas and other militant groups in the region. Similarly, it came under heavy US criticism during the American occupation of Iraq, after the 2003 invasion toppled director Saddam Hussein.

It remains unclear how such an order would be enforced by Israel.