Gaza's Al-Aqsa TV goes off air after Israel bombs studio

DAILY SABAH WITH WIRES
Istanbul
Published 20.12.2018 21:46
Updated 21.12.2018 08:00

The Gaza City-based Al-Aqsa TV, which had its studios bombed by Israeli forces last month, decided to go off air indefinitely. The station stopped broadcasting yesterday at 5 p.m.

During the latest cycle of violence in the blockaded Gaza Strip last month, the Israeli army struck some 160 targets, including Hamas's Al-Aqsa TV station and internal security headquarters. Israeli jets fired 10 missiles at the TV station, according to Anadolu Agency (AA). Following the airstrikes, the TV channel went off air, but soon resumed broadcasting from another location. However, with the costs of the damages amounting to some $4.5 million, the TV station has ever since suffered from a severe financial crisis, as reported by the Times of Israel.

The latest round of violence was the fiercest since the Gaza war in 2014, the third between Israel and Hamas in a decade as part of the wider Israel-Palestinian conflict. Since weekly rallies at the Israeli border began in March 2018, more than 220 Palestinians have been killed, and thousands more injured by Israeli troops deployed along the other side of the buffer zone. Israel has been criticized by a U.N. human rights body for its killing of protesters in Gaza and treatment of the Palestinians, declaring it a "war crime" under the Statute of Rome.

Violence has simmered since Palestinians launched weekly border protests on March 30 to demand the easing of the blockade and the right to return to land lost in 1948. Israeli troops have killed more than 220 Palestinians during those confrontations, which have included border breaches.

With international officials warning of a looming humanitarian crisis, Israel controls all access to and from the Gaza Strip apart from the Palestinian enclave's crossing with Egypt. Hamas is in power in the strip and has fought three wars with Israel since 2008. Under an Israeli blockade for more than 10 years, Gaza lacks infrastructure and key medical equipment. Many patients seek to travel elsewhere for treatment. Since 2007, the Gaza Strip has been under a crippling Israeli and Egyptian blockade that has gutted its economy and deprived its roughly 2 million inhabitants of many vital commodities, including food, fuel and medicine. The humanitarian situation in the long-embargoed enclave is getting worse with each day.

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