Al Jazeera says Gaza journalist beaten, detained by Israeli forces

Al Jazeera says Gaza journalist beaten, detained by Israeli forces
Al Jazeera says Gaza journalist beaten, detained by Israeli forces

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Palestinians transport the body of a relative killed in an Israeli bombardment from the morgue of the Al-Shifa hospital. — AFP pic

GAZA, March 19 — Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera said Israeli forces had beaten its correspondent Ismail Alghoul following his arrest during a raid yesterday on Gaza’s largest hospital.

The Israeli army said it was battling Hamas militants at the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, where witnesses reported air strikes and tanks near the facility which was crowded with patients and displaced people.

Al Jazeera said late Monday Alghoul had been released.

The correspondent told the network he had been detained for about 12 hours by Israeli forces inside the hospital compound and stripped of his clothes and blindfolded with his hands bound.

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Earlier, in a statement to AFP, the network had demanded the release of its correspondent and others detained, saying that Israel was “fully responsible for their safety”.

“Ismail Alghoul was arrested this morning inside Al-Shifa hospital along with a number of journalists while covering the Israeli occupation forces’ attack on the hospital,” Al Jazeera said.

“According to eyewitnesses, Ismail was severely beaten and taken to an unknown location,” it added.

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A broadcast vehicle with cameras and other equipment was destroyed following the arrests, Al Jazeera added.

The Israeli military did not respond to a request for comment.

An Al Jazeera source, who was not authorised to brief the press and spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP that five other people were arrested including Alghoul’s camera crew and engineers.

The United States, Israel’s close ally, said it had asked the Israeli government for more information.

“We have been very clear that journalists play a vital role and that no journalists should be targeted in order to silence their voices in this conflict or any other,” State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters.

Last month the network accused Israel of systematically targeting Al Jazeera employees working in the Gaza Strip.

As of Monday, at least 95 journalists and media workers had been confirmed dead in the Israel-Hamas war, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, citing “preliminary investigations”.

Of those 90 were Palestinians, the organisation said.

Two Al Jazeera journalists have been killed in Gaza and its bureau chief Wael al-Dahdouh was wounded.

“The network emphasises that this targeting serves as an intimidation tactic against journalists to deter them from reporting the horrific crimes committed by the (Israeli) occupation forces against innocent civilians in Gaza,” Al Jazeera said.

“The targeting of Ismail Alghoul is part of a series of systematic attacks on Al Jazeera by the occupation authorities.”

The war was triggered by Hamas’s unprecedented attack on southern Israel which resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli figures.

Israel’s retaliatory military campaign has killed at least 31,726 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory. — AFP

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