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Israeli authorities seize The Associated Press' broadcasting equipment from

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Israeli authorities briefly seized broadcasting equipment from the Associated Press today. The equipment was being used to create a live video feed into Northern Gaza, filmed from the Israeli border. Israel's communications ministry said the U.S. wire service agency violated the law by providing images to the news channel Al Jazeera, but it later returned the equipment after the White House and others protested. NPR's Hadeel Al-Shalchi reports from Tel Aviv.

HADEEL AL-SHALCHI, BYLINE: The Associated Press has been broadcasting a live feed into Northern Gaza throughout the war. The feed shows a Gaza skyline with buildings and sometimes plumes of smoke rising into the sky from the fighting. But on Tuesday, the Associated Press said that Israeli authorities arrived at one of their locations and took the equipment they were using for that broadcast.

AP said the Israeli officials accused them of violating a new media law because AP was providing images to Al Jazeera, the Qatari-funded network which has been kicked out of Israel. Israel has not allowed international journalists independent access to Gaza since the beginning of the war. Media organizations like NPR have depended on the work of Palestinian reporters inside the strip, so the AP feed provides useful visuals into the enclave. Al Jazeera has not shied away from showing graphic images of the bloodshed and killing of Palestinians, while the Israeli government accuses it of being a propaganda arm of Hamas by encouraging armed struggle against Israel - a claim Al Jazeera denies.

The Israeli government came under pressure by the White House on Tuesday, with spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre calling the move concerning, and there were reports that the Biden administration told the Israeli government to return the equipment. And within a few hours, the Israeli Ministry of Communications ordered what they called a cancellation of the operation and a return of the equipment to AP.

Hadeel Al-Shalchi, NPR News, Tel Aviv.

(SOUNDBITE OF BADBADNOTGOOD AND GHOSTFACE KILLAH SONG, "TONE'S RAP") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Hadeel al-Shalchi is an editor with Weekend Edition. Prior to joining NPR, Al-Shalchi was a Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press and covered the Arab Spring from Tunisia, Bahrain, Egypt, and Libya. In 2012, she joined Reuters as the Libya correspondent where she covered the country post-war and investigated the death of Ambassador Chris Stephens. Al-Shalchi also covered the front lines of Aleppo in 2012. She is fluent in Arabic.
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