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Al-Jazeera 'deplores' Israeli plans to close broadcaster

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Employees of Qatar based news network and TV channel Al Jazeera are seen at their Jerusalem office

The Shin-Bet, Israel's domestic security agency, has started investigating Al Jazeera's operations and will produce a report that will determine whether it should be shut down and if its journalists' credentials should be revoked, Nitzan Chen, director of the Government Press Office in Jerusalem, said in a telephone interview. "The Al-Jazeera channel continues to incite violence around the Temple Mount", Netanyahu wrote in a Facebook post, referring to the Haram Al-Sharif compound in Jerusalem, known to Jews as the Temple Mount. Israeli communication minister Ayoub Kara said that the news channel has been found to be supporting terrorism, which is why it would be taken off the air. Closure of the station's office would require further legislation, he added. Al Jazeera reporter Scott Heidler, who is in Jerusalem, claimed that Kara's request covered all journalists working with the network, both in the English and Arabic editions.

The Foreign Press Association, of which Al Jazeera journalists in Israel are members, said most have Government Press Office identification cards, which means they are government-vetted.

"I congratulate the Minister of communications, Ayoob for my guidance took today in line with practical steps to stop the activity of incitement in Israel", Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said of Kara's proposal on Twitter.

Al Jazeera correspondent reported that Israel is also seeking to shut down Al Jazeera's cable and satellite transmissions in the country.

Al Jazeera has come under attack from several governments in the region in recent months to the concern of free press campaigners.

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Jordan and Saudi Arabia have recently closed local offices of the Qatar-based news network, while the channel and affiliate sites have been blocked in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain.

"Al-Jazeera deplores this action from a state that is called the only democratic state in the Middle East and considers what it has done is risky", said the official who declined to be named.

"Lately, nearly all countries in our region determined that Al-Jazeera supports terrorism, supports religious radicalization", Kara said. "Everybody goes after the media", he said.

Al Jazeera said in July it would take all necessary legal measures if Israel acts on its threat.

The UAE and Egypt have also banned Al Jazeera.

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