updated 1/22/2007 7:29:22 PM ET 2007-01-23T00:29:22

A huge blast damaged the offices of the Arabic satellite channel Al-Arabiya Monday evening, perhaps because of a dispute over the station's coverage of the Hamas-led government. No one was hurt, because the office was empty at the time.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, which was set off outside the entrance of the office, causing considerable damage inside. The metal door was blown off and a hole ripped in the wall. Shards of glass and broken furniture were strewn around.

Firefighters raced to the scene and put out the flames from the explosion, which knocked out electricity in the 12-story building.

Palestinians said the news channel has been under criticism recently from Hamas for showing Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas apparently using the name of God. Haniyeh said he was quoting an official from the rival Fatah. Journalists said Al-Arabiya staffers have been targets of death threats.

Raham Abdel Karim, the Al-Arabiya office manager, refused to blame anyone. She said there have been many threats against staffers, and the government was informed of them. "We received a clear threat they would explode the office and kill some employees," she said, but would not name those responsible.

Fatah official Maher Mikdad blamed Hamas. "This is the project of fear and terrorizing that is taking place," he said. "Hamas is the hero of that scene par excellence."

Hamas and Fatah have been engaged in sometimes violent clashes for months, as talks about a unity government have sputtered.

Palestinian government spokesman Ghazi Hamad of Hamas denounced the bombing. "Despite the disagreement between us and Al-Arabiya, we reject this method and we consider it unacceptable. I have urged the Interior Minister to find out who is responsible," he said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah also condemned the bombing, according to the Palestinian news agency WAFA.

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