Hamas starts test broadcast for new TV

Jan. 9, 2006 at 12:24 PM
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GAZA, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Hamas started test broadcasting Monday its television, the first of its kind in Gaza, days after launching its official campaign for general elections.

Hamas official, Fathi Hammad, said the television named "al-Aqsa", the first to be set up by a Palestinian group, will be affiliated to the group's radio station.

"The idea of creating al-Aqsa television came before the radio station was set up but could not be created for several reasons, including the impossibility of securing necessary equipment in addition to financial and technical reasons," Hammad told United Press International.

Hamas, which will be participating for the first time in general elections set for January 25, is seeking to air its political platform through various means, including a dozen of web sites, the radio station "Voice of al-Aqsa" which broadcast on FM frequencies, and daily al-Risala (the message) which was closed down by the Palestinian Authority in the past for criticizing its policies.

A technician in the new television, engineer Awda Shukri, said "Palestinian citizens could view al-Aqsa TV through a simple antenna on UHF 62 frequency.

The station has been broadcasting verses from the holy Koran for an hour from an unknown place in Gaza.

Broadcasting during the test period is limited to one hour a day and displays pictures of al-Aqsa mosque.

Hammad said Hamas has been working on establishing the TV station for the past six months and succeeded finally to secure the equipment and needed technical personnel.

Hamas radio is largely popular among Palestinians in Gaza, which encouraged the militant group to open a TV station, he added.

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