News agency Reuters on Thursday said the Israel Defense Forces killed one of its journalists in Lebanon in October.
In a detailed and wide-ranging investigation, Reuters said an Israeli tank crew fired two shells in quick succession from Israel into Lebanon while the journalists were filming cross-border shelling. Israel’s barrage killed Issam Abdallah and injured several other journalists.
“The two strikes killed Reuters visuals journalist Issam Abdallah, 37, and severely wounded Agence France-Presse (AFP) photographer Christina Assi, 28, just over a kilometre from the Israeli border near the Lebanese village of Alma al-Chaab,” according to Reuters’ investigation.
Human rights group Amnesty International said the Israeli strikes on the journalists were deliberate and must be investigated as a war crime.
“Amnesty International verified over 100 videos and photographs, analyzed weapons fragments from the site, and interviewed nine witnesses,” said the watchdog in a statement. “The findings indicate that the group was visibly identifiable as journalists and that the Israeli military knew or should have known that they were civilians yet attacked them anyway in two separate strikes 37 seconds apart.”
In response, Israeli government spokesperson Eylon Levy said “we do not target civilians” and added “we’ve been doing everything possible to get civilians out of harm’s way,” Reuters reported.
According to Reporters Without Borders, at least 41 journalists have been killed in the Middle East since October, mostly in the Gaza Strip where Israel has been carrying out a retaliatory bombing campaign and ground offensive in response to Palestinian militant group Hamas’ violent attack against Israel on October 7.