Palestine: at least six journalists killed in Gaza

  • 10 Oct 2023

Six Palestinian journalists have been killed, several injured and others are missing during on-going military operations between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip.

[UPDATED 12.10.2023] Six Palestinian journalists have been killed, several have been injured and others are missing during on-going military operations between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) condemn the killings and continued attacks on journalists. The IFJ calls for an immediate investigation into their deaths.

In such dangerous conditions, the IFJ reminds journalists on the ground to take precautions, wear professional safety equipment and not to travel without their media providing them with all the professional safety equipment needed to cover events. No story is worth the life of a journalist.

In the early hours of 7 October, Hamas launched an unprecedented attack in southern Israel. In response, Israel retaliated with airstrikes over the besieged Gaza Strip and formally declared war at Hamas.

On 10 October, the PJS said that three Palestinian journalists Said al-Taweel, director of Al-Khamisa news agency; photojournalist Mohammed Sobboh and Hisham Nawajhah, correspondent for a news agency in Gaza, were killed by an Israeli airstrike that hit a residential building near Gaza City's fishing port. The Hamas-run government said that the three reporters were covering the evacuation of a residential building nearby, when the missile struck, AFP reported.

The IFJ is verifying information about two other Palestinian journalists who might have been killed since the beginning of the hostilities on 7 October.  On 7 October, Palestinian photojournalist Mohammad Al-Salhi, working for news agency Fourth Authority was shot dead while covering the military operations at the border east of Palestinian refugee camp Al-Bureij, located in the central Gaza Strip, according to the state-run news agency WAFA. On the same day, Ibrahim Lafi from Ain Media news agency was killed while reporting near Beit Hanoun checkpoint, close to the separation fence with Israel, in the northern Gaza Strip, the media reported.

JS warned that on 7 October contact was lost with local journalist Nidal Al-Wahidi from Al-Najah TV station and photographer Haitham Abdel Wahed from Ain Media agency. Both professionals were covering the fights close to the separation fence with Israel, near Beit Hanoun checkpoint. The next day, Al-Wahidi’s family informed the media that the journalist had been arrested by the Israeli army. On 7 October, in the southern Gaza Strip, correspondent for Al-Ghad TV channel, Ibrahim Qanan, was injured in the leg by a missile strike targeted at Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis city. In a similar incident, PJS reported that journalist Salah Abu Salah was wounded by a missile's shrapnel at Abasan city.

In Gaza city, Israeli shelling injured journalist Saleh Al-Masry and his wife, and destroyed the houses of director of Zaman radio, Rami Al-Sharafi, and journalist Basil Khair Al-Din, working for TV station Al-Quds Today, reads PJS statement. The moment an Israeli strike hit Palestine tower in Gaza on 7 October was caught on TV as Al Jazeera reporter Youmna Al-Sayed was conducting a live broadcast.

Throughout the weekend, Israeli retaliatory airstrikes completely or partially destroyed the headquarters of several media outlets, including the newsroom of Al-Ayyam newspaper, Gaza FM radio studio located in Palestine Tower, and headquarters of Shehab news agency, among others. The offices of Palestinian news agency Ma’an were severely damaged due to the flattening of Al-Watan Tower.

Anthony Bellanger, IFJ general secretary said:

“Media workers in areas of armed conflict must be treated and protected as civilians and allowed to perform their work without interference. The IFJ calls on all combatants in this conflict to do their utmost to safeguard journalists and media professionals. There is intense and deeply concerned interest in this conflict all round the world, but people will only be able to understand what is really going on if journalists are allowed to do their work.”

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