JERUSALEM: Israel on Monday blocked all web access to a Lebanese satellite TV channel known for its pro-Iran stance over "security" concerns, as the war in Gaza raises fears of the conflict spreading.

Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi said the security cabinet had approved emergency measures to prevent Al-Mayadeen television from harming the state's security.

"Following cabinet approval this morning, I signed the first order to block the internet sites of Al-Mayadeen in Israel," Karhi wrote on his Facebook page.

"The broadcasts and reporters of Al-Mayadeen serve the despicable terror organisations," he said.

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant also accused the network of turning into "a mouthpiece of Hezbollah", accusing the network's journalists of "supporting terror while pretending to be reporters" in a statement released on Monday.

Lebanon front with Israel heats up, stoking fears of wider war

Al-Mayadeen's websites were not accessible on mobile data when AFP journalists attempted to load them on Monday evening.

A spokesman for the Israeli minister told AFP the channel itself could not be blocked since it was broadcast via satellite, but said they were planning to ban Al-Mayadeen reporters from working in Israel.

The outlet's Israeli correspondent told AFP she "will abide by the law".

Network chairman Ghassin bin Jiddo insisted the move would not stop their coverage of the Gaza war, saying it was part of Israel's "ongoing policy of arrests, silencing people, and cracking down on freedom of the press and freedom of expression".

"Al-Mayadeen will not back down from its support of the Palestinian people and the resistance," he said.

The Israeli minister also requested the ban apply to the occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian production company working with Mayadeen in the West Bank said it had cut ties with the Lebanese channel.

Last month, the Israeli communications ministry presented the security cabinet with a plan to close the Israeli operations of Al Jazeera in light of "evidence" the Qatari channel was broadcasting content "that harms national security".

However, no measures have been taken against Al Jazeera.

Qatar has been key in attempts to mediate a deal that would see the release of the nearly 240 hostages taken by Hamas during their October 7 attack on Israel, which killed around 1,200 people, mainly civilians, according to Israeli authorities.

Since then, Israel has pursued a withering bombardment of Gaza that has killed more than 11,100 people, mostly civilians, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory.

In parallel, there have been ongoing exchanges of fire along Israel's northern border with Lebanon between the army and that have claimed the lives of at least six Israeli soldiers and three civilians, according to the army.

On the Lebanese side, at 70 least Hezbollah fighters and 11 civilians have been killed, according to an AFP count.


Comments are closed.