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Thursday, 24 January, 2002, 23:23 GMT
Palestinians seek $10m for radio attack
The wrecked Voice of Palestine radio station
Israel says the radio station incited violence
Palestinian broadcasters say they plan to sue Israel for at least $10m compensation for destroying their headquarters and transmission tower.

Israel said it blew up the five-storey Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) building in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Saturday in retaliation for the killing of six people by a Palestinian.

They said the gunman was from a group linked to the Fatah faction of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

A worker carries of picture of Yasser Arafat from the PBC building
The Voice of Palestine has continued to broadcast
But despite the attack, the main Palestinian radio station, the Voice of Palestine, has continued to broadcast from other transmitters.

The head of the PBC, Radwan Abu Ayyash, said his company would pursue the Israeli Government through unspecified international legal channels.

He said the estimated cost of destroyed equipment was between $10m and $15m.

Attack criticised

He said there was no estimate yet on the cost of the damage to the building, which had been leased.

Mr Abu Ayyash said the transmission equipment had been donated by European countries and the United States after the PBC was set up in 1994 - a year after the breakthrough Oslo peace accords.

"Israel destroyed historically important tapes and many things that cannot be replaced," he said.

Staff salvage items from the wrecked building
The PBC says historic material was destroyed in the attack
The station ran on funds from the Palestinian Authority and foreign donations.

Criticism of the attack by Israeli troops came from the United Nations and international media organisations.

US-based press-freedom campaign group Committee to Protect Journalists called the destruction a "reprehensible attack".

Israel has accused the Voice of Palestine of incitement during the 16-month-old Palestinian uprising, a claim denied by Mr Abu Ayyash.

There was no immediate comment from Israel on the demand for compensation.

See also:

19 Jan 02 | Middle East
Palestinian radio defies Israeli attack
18 Jan 02 | Middle East
'Another dark day in Israel'
10 Jan 02 | Middle East
Palestinian militants abandon truce
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