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Google restricts access to IDF videos

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NEW YORK (JTA) — YouTube has restricted but not removed videos of Israeli military operations in Gaza.

Visitors to the popular video-sharing Web site are required to sign in and confirm they are over 18 in order to view certain videos of Israeli military operations in Gaza.

Several news outlets had reported that the videos had been entirely removed, but according to an IDF statement posted on its YouTube page, the site restored access to the videos "due to blogger and viewer support." The IDF says it plans to create its own blog to offer unrestricted access to its videos.

The videos in question feature aerial footage taken from Israeli warplanes that show surgical strikes on Hamas targets in Gaza. They apparently were intended to show that the IDF was carefully selecting attack sites to minimize civilian casualties and inflict damage only on those deemed responsible for rocket attacks on Israel.

YouTube’s parent company, Google, did not respond to an email request for comment.

As its dominance of Internet searches has grown in recent years, Google has come under fire for employing haphazard criteria in restricting access to certain Web sites.

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