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Palestinian news group stops printing Hamas titles
Palestinian news group stops printing Hamas titles
Palestinians hold flags of the Hamas movement in the Deheisheh refugee camp near the West Bank town of Bethlehem on May 30, 2014 (AFP Photo/Musa al-Shaer)
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AFP - A Palestinian newspaper group said Thursday that it had stopped printing newspapers run by Hamas and Islamic Jihad after receiving a series of warnings from the Israeli army.

The Al-Ayyam newspaper group, which is based in the West Bank, has stopped printing and distributing Hamas newspapers Falastin and Al-Resala and Islamic Jihad’s Al-Istiqlal newspaper, its managing editor Abdel Nasser al-Najjar told AFP.

The decision followed a phone call late Wednesday from the Israeli army, threatening to close Al-Ayyam's offices if it did not stop publishing the papers, he said.

Israeli soldiers raided Al-Ayyam's offices last month and issued similar threats.

Al-Ayyam has been printing the three papers since April, when a surprise reconciliation deal between rivals Hamas and Fatah brought the Islamic group's publications back to West Bank newsstands.

In April, Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organisation -- which Fatah dominates -- unveiled a reconciliation deal under which they formed a merged administration for the West Bank and Gaza last week for the first time in seven years.

That was seized upon by Israel, which said it would not negotiate with any Palestinian government backed by Hamas, putting the final nail in the coffin of the latest round of US-brokered peace talks.

In a separate crackdown on Palestinian media, Israeli police raided the Jerusalem studios of Palestine TV on Friday and briefly detained three staff for questioning.

Lifting the ban on newspapers was a key to the work of the ‘Civil Liberties’ committee that the reconciliation agreement yielded in April 2014.

Al Ray contributed to this report.