Demonstrators in Ramallah (archive)
Demonstrators in Ramallah (archive)Flash 90

A Palestinian Arab reporter working for an Iranian news agency was briefly abducted, beaten and threatened by Palestinian gunmen after covering the violent dispersal of an Islamist student demonstration earlier this week, The Associated Press reported on Friday.

The Tasnim news agency said the men forced the reporter, Samer Khuaira, into a car at gunpoint on Tuesday, beat him and threatened him. The men said his coverage harmed the Palestinian Authority and the Fatah movement that dominates it, Tasnim said. He was released around a half hour later.

Khuaira identified one of his abductors as a member of Palestinian security forces, Tasnim reported on Thursday. The Palestinian Journalists Union condemned the attack on their colleague.

There was no comment from PA officials.

The PA has come under fire in the past for its crackdown on people, social media and news websites that are critical of PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Last July, the PA closed the offices of JMedia, a news agency in Ramallah, and summoned its director, Ala al-Rimawi, for questioning.

Rimawi had been arrested for protesting the killing of activist Nizar Banat and insulting Palestinian Arab leaders.

In 2019, a PA court blocked access to 51 online news sources that the PA regards as threats.

In 2017, Abbas issued a decree allowing his government to jail anyone on charges of harming "national unity" or the "social fabric".

Following the decree, the PA government blocked 30 websites, most of which were affiliated with Abbas' two main rivals, his longtime political rival Mohammed Dahlan and the Hamas terrorist group which controls Gaza.

In 2012, Abbas also censored media outlets affiliated with his rivals. He subsequently ordered the censorship to be lifted after coming under fire for it.

Both the Fatah-led PA and its main rival, Hamas which rules Gaza, routinely crack down on political opponents in the areas they control. Iran supports Hamas and other terrorist groups.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)