Palestinian Daily Al-Ayyam, Briefly Banned in Gaza, Appears Again

Newspaper banned for 3 months after Hamas took issue with what it called defamation of Ismail Haniyeh.

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A three-month ban in the Gaza Strip of a Palestinian newspaper critical of a Hamas leader expired on Wednesday and authorities said it was free to publish in the territory again.

"[Al-Ayyam] can resume distribution from tomorrow," said Hassan Abu Hasheesh, deputy information minister in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

"We have told [the newspaper] it needs to respect Palestinian law and work in accordance with the standards of neutrality and professionalism."

Gaza distribution of the newspaper, which is printed in the occupied West Bank, was halted by court order after Hamas authorities took issue with what they said was defamation by Al-Ayyam of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

Al-Ayyam denied any bias in its coverage.

A Gaza court ruled this week that Palestinian law did not provide for the extension of the three-month order banning distribution, Abu Hasheesh said.

Abdel Nasser al-Najjar, Al Ayyam's editor-in-chief, said the newspaper would appear in the Gaza Strip again from Thursday.

"We do not take sides. We cover both Hamas and Fatah. The decision to ban it was wrong from the outset," Najjar said.

Hamas took control of Gaza Strip, home to 1.5 million Palestinians, after routing the Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in June.



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