A Reuters journalist was killed on October 13 in Lebanon as a result of gunfire from the side of the border with Israel, precisely aimed at the car in which media workers were traveling, the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) organization said on Sunday.
“According to the ballistics analysis conducted by RSF, the shots came from the east of the place where the journalists were standing; from the side of the Israeli border. Two shots at the same place in such a short time (just over 30 seconds), from the same direction, clearly indicate for precise targeting,” the group wrote in a statement. The Israeli military previously expressed regret over the journalist’s death. It said it was not intentionally targeting media workers and that it was investigating the October 13 incident. Reuters turned to the Defense Forces Israel (IDF) for comment on the RSF report.
“It is unlikely that journalists were mistaken for militants.”
According to the organization’s findings, two projectiles of different strength hit the place where seven journalists were located 37 or 38 seconds apart. The first, weaker impact killed Reuters cameraman Issam Abdallah and injured an AFP correspondent. As a result of the second, stronger impact, the car of the Qatari Al-Jazeera television team caught fire, and two journalists of the station and another AFP journalist were injured. “It is unlikely that the journalists were mistaken for militants, especially since they were not hiding: to have a good field of view, they had been in the open for over an hour, on the top of a hill. They were wearing helmets and bulletproof vests with the word ‘Press’ written on them. Their car was also marked ‘Prasa’ thanks to the inscription on the roof,” RSF wrote, citing witnesses. According to RSF, five days earlier, on October 9, Al-Jazeera journalists were attacked in a similar manner in the southern village of Dhajra Lebanon. They claim that an Israeli helicopter flew over them and then a missile landed next to their car, which was also marked with the word “Press”.
On October 13, Abdallah and other reporters reported on exchanges of fire across the Israeli-Lebanese border that occurred regularly after Palestinian Hamas militants attacked Israel. The Associated Press reported that the bullets that hit the journalists were Israeli.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA/WAEL HAMZEH