Hamas' top government spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum, issued a direct threat last week against the editor of a Bethlehem-based Palestinian news agency.
The editor of the Ma'an News Agency related in a written public statement that Barhoum left a message on his answering service threatening to defame and even incite violence against the news agency if it did not stop criticizing the Hamas government in its reporting.
Ma'an reported that it filed a formal complaint with Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, but never received a response.
Several hours later, Hamas websites began to incite anger against Ma'an and its correspondents in the Gaza Strip, making it impossible for the agency's reporters to operate there.
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