Al Jazeera condemns Israel ‘targeting’ Gaza journalists

Al Jazeera condemns Israel ‘targeting’ Gaza journalists
Al Jazeera condemns Israel ‘targeting’ Gaza journalists

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - An Israeli air force fighter aircraft flies over the border area with south Lebanon in northern Israel on February 13, 2024 amid ongoing cross-border tensions as fighting continues between Israel and Palestinian Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. — AFP pic

PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES, Feb 14 — Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera yesterday condemned Israel for “targeting” and severely wounding two of its Gaza journalists in a strike.

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Reporter Ismail Abu Omar’s life is at risk and cameraman Ahmad Matar was severely wounded when the pair were hit in Gaza’s southern city of Rafah.

The network said the strike was a “fully fledged crime which adds to Israel’s crime against journalists” and was aimed at preventing reporters covering the war.

“Targeting the reporter Ismail and cameraman Ahmad is a new episode in a series by the (Israeli) occupation deliberately targeting Al Jazeera crews,” the network said in a statement.

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Abu Omar’s right leg was blown off in the drone strike, while doctors were trying to save the left one, Al Jazeera said, quoting an emergency physician.

The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said the two were hit in a strike from an Israeli warplane in the Moraj area.

The United States, Israel’s vital ally, offered its “sincere condolences” over the injuries and noted that they were not the first Al Jazeera journalists harmed during the conflict.

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“We continue to engage with the government of Israel to make clear that journalists ought to be protected,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters.

“Journalists are putting themselves in harm’s way to bring us the truth and we support their work in bringing us the truth,” he said.

“We want to see that they’re protected to the maximum extent possible.”

The two journalists have been admitted to the European Hospital, on the southern edge of Khan Yunis city.

The World Health Organization said yesterday the facility is “overwhelmed, overcrowded and undersupplied” with more than 20,000 people sheltering in the hospital.

Hamas’ government media office said it “condemns in the strongest terms the Israeli occupation army’s targeting of the Al Jazeera crew”.

The Israeli military did not immediately comment on the strike when contacted by AFP, saying only it would check the details of the incident.

Two other journalists with the broadcaster have been killed during Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, while bureau chief Wael al-Dahdouh was wounded.

His son and fellow journalist Hamza Wael al-Dahdouh was killed when Israeli forces targeted a car last month, along with another video journalist, Mustafa Thuria.

The network’s cameraman Samer Abu Daqqa was killed in a separate strike in December.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has recorded the deaths of at least 85 journalists and media workers — 78 of them Palestinian — since the war erupted on October 7. — AFP

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