Palestinian leader condemns Israeli raid on TV stations

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad tours Watan TV after raid

REPORTING FROM RAMALLAH, WEST BANK -- Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Wednesday condemned a predawn Israeli raid on two private Palestinian television stations in Ramallah.

Israeli soldiers raided Watan TV and Al Quds Educational Television in Ramallah, the base of the Palestinian Authority, reportedly seizing transmitters, broadcast equipment, computers and personnel files.

Fayyad described the raids as "acts of piracy" in Ramallah, which is supposed to be under full Palestinian Authority control.

"These blatant violations seek to undercut whatever authority is left in the hands of the Palestinian Authority," he told reporters at Watan, promising to help the two stations get back on their feet and resume transmission as soon as possible.

The Israeli army did not tell employees at the stations the reason for the raid, the first since 2002. But an Israeli military spokesman told news agencies that the raid was conducted by the Communications Ministry, which says the two stations were unlicensed and that their broadcasts interfered with aircraft communications.

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Photo: Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, front center, inspects the offices of private television station Watan on Tuesday after Israeli troops raided it and another television station in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Credit: Abbas Momani / AFP/Getty Images

 
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