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Israel’s parliament on Monday passed a law allowing the government to shut down Al Jazeera, a news outlet that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu deems a threat to national security, the New York Times reported.

After the bill was approved, Netanyahu vowed to immediately block Al Jazeera’s activities and broadcasts in the country.

Long-standing tensions with the Qatar-based network, a critic of the right-wing prime minister, have mounted since the Hamas-led Oct. 7 attack. Netanyahu has described the channel as “terrorist” and a “mouthpiece” of the Palestinian group, which the US and the European Union designate as a terror group.

Israel’s intelligence organization Mossad backed the decision, saying the network revealed the locations of Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers, Israel’s public broadcaster Kan reported.

Passing in a 71-10 vote in the Knesset, the law enables the government to temporarily close Al Jazeera’s offices in Israel and remove it from television networks.

“It is impossible to tolerate a media outlet, with press credentials from the Government Press Office and offices in Israel, acting from within against us, certainly during wartime,” Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi said.

In a statement, Al Jazeera condemned Netanyahu’s “dangerous ludicrous lie” and said the move incited violence against its journalists, citing specific reporters killed by Israeli attacks.

In 2022, IDF soldiers shot dead Al Jazeera’s Shireen Abu Akleh in the West Bank. A report commissioned by the United Nations concluded that the IDF used “lethal force without justification.” Many reporters working for the network, and their relatives, have been killed since the war in the Gaza Strip began.

International media has been dependent on Gazan reporters because foreign journalists have been banned from entering Gaza.

In the first five months of the war, Israeli strikes in Gaza killed at least 103 journalists, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Twenty-two were killed while they were reporting, while others were specifically targeted, the organization said.

RSF demanded the new law be repealed, saying it marked “unprecedented censorship” and noting that Al Jazeera remained one of the few international outlets that could cover the war on-the-ground.

White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre called the law “concerning.” “The United States supports the critically important work journalists do around the world, and that includes those who are reporting on the conflict in Gaza,” she said.

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