The station took to the air at 1600 GMT on Saturday, as Aljazeera's news channel celebrated its seventh anniversary.

The launch brings the Qatar-based network closer to its aim of providing a wide-ranging bouquet. Still in the pipeline are a documentary, English-language news, and children's channels.

Aljazeera sports can be received free at the moment within the Arabsat broadcast footprint.

The station has already acquired the broadcast rights for selected European and Arab sporting fixtures and is in the process of negotiating with other suppliers for other high quality sporting programmes.