Israel boycotts Al-Jazeera

""We have discussed this problem and I have decided that we will boycott this channel as its partial coverage is not credible and is damaging to us,"" Deputy

Foreign Minister Majali Wahbe told army radio.

""Al-Jazeera reports only half the story and helps terrorists.""

Israeli officials will no longer give interviews to the channel and a letter of protest will be sent to Al-Jazeera management within a matter of days, he

said.

A senior foreign ministry official told newswire AFP that Israel's ire was sparked by the Qatar-based station's coverage of the sharp escalation of violence

that erupted on February 27.

""During the fighting that took place in Gaza recently... they only showed Gaza - the war in Ashkelon was not a story,"" the official said, referring to the

rocket strikes on the southern Israeli port. ""I expect all media to show both sides.""

The upsurge in violence saw more than 130 Palestinians killed in Israeli military strikes on the territory. Five Israelis have also died, including one

civilian killed in a barrage of rocket fire from Gaza.

A tenuous calm has held in the area for the past six days amid a tacit agreement between Israel and Hamas to halt fire in order to give a chance to Egyptian

efforts to secure a more permanent end the violence.

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