Palestinian security forces arrested five journalists in the Israeli-occupied West Bank for “leaking sensitive information to enemy groups”, official Palestinian news agency Wafa said on Wednesday, citing a security source.
One of the detained journalists is affiliated with the Islamist Hamas movement which controls the Gaza Strip, Wafa reported, adding that the spying allegations are “under investigation”.
The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate confirmed the arrests, which it condemned. It urged media workers to be spared the political fallout from the split between Hamas and the Fatah movement of Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas.
The five reporters were rounded up at their homes in Hebron, Bethelehem and Nablus, the Islamic Radio and Television Union (IRTU) said in a statement, deploring the arrests as “an attack against freedom of speech and repression of the press”.
Security forces searched the reporters’ homes and seized their mobile phones and computers, the IRTU said.
The journalists worked for the Hamas-affiliated Shehab news agency, for the al-Aqsa TV station and the Al-Quds satellite channel, the IRTU said
Hamas militants detained a reporter on Wednesday Strip after calling him in for questioning, Wafa cited sources at the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate as saying.
Hamas searched the home of the journalist, Amer Abu Shabab, and impounded his computer and mobile phone, Wafa reported.
Meanwhile, Fatah has called on Hamas to free Fouad Jaradeh, a correspondent for the state-run Palestine TV in Gaza, saying Jaradeh’s health had deteriorated during his imprisonment.