Israel: Journalist killed in Lebanon in ‘active combat zone’ | Israel-Palestine conflict news
Rights groups say the Israeli strike that killed a Reuters reporter and wounded six others must be investigated as a war crime.
Israel has said a journalist killed by its military forces in southern Lebanon was “in an active combat zone”.
Reflecting its rejection of calls for a war crimes investigation into the death of a Reuters journalist and the wounding of six others by fire from its tanks in October, Israel’s military said on Friday that the incident was under investigation, but noted that the reporters had implicated themselves. in a “dangerous” area.
Without directly addressing the death of video journalist Issam Abdallah, 37, on October 13, an Israeli military statement said Lebanese Hezbollah fighters had launched an attack across the border at the time and that Israeli forces opened fire to prevent a suspected armed infiltration.
An exclusive Reuters report published on Thursday found that an Israeli tank crew killed Abdallah and wounded six reporters – including Al Jazeera’s Elie Brakhia and Carmen Joukhadar – when they fired two shells in quick succession. quickly while the journalists were filming cross-border shells in and around Alma ash-Shaab.
In the statement, the Israeli military said that Hezbollah had launched an attack on several targets inside Israeli territory along the Lebanese border.
“One incident involved the firing of an anti-tank missile, which hit the border fence near the village of Hanita. “After the launch of the anti-tank missile, concerns arose about the possibility of terrorists entering Israeli territory,” he said.
“In response, the IDF [Israeli army] using artillery and tank fire to prevent infiltration. The IDF is aware of the allegation that journalists who were in the area were killed.
“The area is an active combat zone, where active fire takes place and it is dangerous to be in this area. The incident is currently under investigation,” he said.
The seven journalists who were stripped on October 13 were all wearing blue jackets and helmets, most with “PRESS” written on them in white.
Reporting from the area on the day of the attack, Al Jazeera journalist Ali Hashem said the reporters were targeted.
“The tank shell hit them directly. It was terrible. The situation over there was – I can’t explain it, I can’t explain it,” he said at the time.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said it was important that the Israeli investigation into the killing comes to a conclusion and that the results be visible.
“My understanding is that Israel has initiated such an investigation, and it will be important to see that investigation come to a conclusion, and to see the results of the investigation,” he said.
International rights groups Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International said Israel should face a war crimes investigation into Abdallah’s death.
“Evidence indicates that the Israeli military knew or should have known that the group of people they were shooting at were civilians,” HRW said. the attack is a “war crime” he said.
Amnesty also said that Israel’s military strikes “appear to be a direct attack on civilians that must be investigated as a war crime”.
Journalists covering Israel’s war on Gaza are at unprecedented risk, according to media rights group the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
Since the start of the Gaza war, at least 63 journalists have been killed, including 56 Palestinians, four Israelis, and three Lebanese nationals, according to the CPJ.