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NUJ calls for inquiry into killing of Palestinian press photographer

8 April 2018

The NUJ has expressed sympathy to the family of Palestinian journalist Yasser Murtaja, who died yesterday  having been shot while covering a demonstration in the southern Gaza Strip, east of Khan Yunis.

Murtaja was a photographer with the Gaza-based Ain Media agency and was one of nine people killed after Israeli troops used live ammunition as tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered to protest.

Five other journalists were injured by live fire, according to the Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said there could be no justification for the action of the Israeli forces in shooting Yasser Murtaja, who was wearing a protective vest mark PRESS. She extended sympathy to his wife and two-year old son and said:

"This is outrageous behavior which must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Murtaja and his colleagues were clearly identified as working journalists. There is an urgent need for an independent investigation into this incident.

"In extending sympathy to his family, to his colleagues and to our sister union in Palestine we strongly urge the British and Irish governments to formally protest at the actions of Israeli forces on Friday. The decision to fire on demonstrators in this fashion raises very serious issues. Our thoughts are with the families of all who have been killed.

"Reporters and photographers must be allowed to record public demonstrations and their presence at events is vital. The killing of Yasser, a talented, committed young photographer with a promising career, is an attack on the fundamental rights of journalists to do their work in the public interest."

Tags: , journalists killed, gaza, israel, Yasser Murtaja, Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate, demonstration, photographers, palestine