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Reuters journalist killed in Lebanon in missile fire from direction of Israel

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A Reuters video journalist was killed and six other journalists injured in southern Lebanon on Friday when missiles fired from the direction of Israel struck them, according to a Reuters videographer who was at the scene.

The group of journalists, including from Al Jazeera and Agence France-Presse, were working near Alma al-Shaab, close to the Israel border, where the Israeli military and Lebanese militia Hezbollah have been trading fire in border clashes.

Al Jazeera said cameraperson Elie Brakhia and reporter Carmen Joukhadar were also wounded.

The tank shell hit them directly. It was horrible. The situation over there was – I can’t explain, I can’t describe it,” Al Jazeera correspondent Ali Hashem reported from Alma al-Shaab, Lebanon, adding that the team of reporters had been clearly marked as press.

Al Jazeera Media Network said in a statement that Israeli forces had “once again attempted to silence the media by targeting journalists”, this time with a missile fired at a clearly marked Al Jazeera team and other reporters in southern Lebanon.

“Israel’s targeting of the Al Jazeera team is a blatant disregard of international safety standards that clearly distinguish the press, as they shelled and burned an Al Jazeera broadcast vehicle despite our crew’s presence alongside other international media in an agreed upon location,” the network said.

Lebanon’s Press Editors’ Syndicate condemned the “targeting” of journalists and described the killing of Abdallah as a “deliberate crime”.

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati and a Hezbollah lawmaker blamed the incident on Israel.

The Israel Defense Forces did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Israel’s U.N. envoy, Gilad Erdan, said in a briefing on Friday: “Obviously, we would never want to hit or kill or shoot any journalist that is doing its job. But you know, we’re in a state of war, things might happen.” He added that the country would investigate.

Reuters said in a statement that Issam Abdallah had been killed while providing a live video signal for broadcasters. The camera was pointed at a hillside when a loud explosion shook the camera, filling the air with smoke, and screams were heard.

“We are deeply saddened to learn that our videographer, Issam Abdallah, has been killed,” Reuters said.

“We are urgently seeking more information, working with authorities in the region, and supporting Issam’s family and colleagues.”

Two other Reuters journalists, Thaer Al-Sudani and Maher Nazeh, were wounded in the incident and released from a hospital after receiving medical care, Reuters said.

Nazeh said Reuters and the two other news organizations were filming missile fire coming from the direction of Israel when one struck Abdallah as he was sitting on a low stone wall near the rest of the group. Seconds later, another missile hit the car being used by the group, setting it aflame.

While other news outlets, including the Associated Press and Al Jazeera, said the shells were Israeli, Reuters could not establish whether the missiles had actually been fired by Israel.

Agence France-Presse said two of its journalists were wounded.

Qatari funded broadcaster Al Jazeera said two of its journalists were also wounded in the incident and had been clearly distinguishable as press. It blamed Israel for the incident, saying all those behind “this criminal act” should be held accountable.

“The broadcast vehicle was bombed and completely burned despite the presence of our team close to/side by side with the rest of the international media crews in an agreed-upon location,” Al Jazeera said in a statement.

Shortly before Abdallah was killed, he posted on social media a photograph of himself wearing a helmet and a flak jacket with the word “press” visible on it.

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, a peacekeeping unit that patrols Lebanon’s border with Israel, said:

This evening, at approximately 5:20 pm, a heavy exchange of fire erupted between Lebanon and Israel in the vicinity of Alma Shaab, Ayta Ash Shab’, Al Dihaira, El Adeysse and Houla.

We are deeply saddened to hear that during this exchange of fire a Lebanese videographer has been killed with reports of other journalists injured.

As tensions continue to mount perilously, UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Aroldo Lázaro urgently calls to stop firing. The potential for this escalation to spiral out of control is clear, and it must be halted.

UNIFIL has actively engaged with authorities on both sides of the Blue Line to de-escalate the situation.

The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the Friday shelling in southern Lebanon that killed Reuters videographer Issam Abdallah and injured at least four other journalists.

Those wounded include two other Reuters journalists, Thaer Al-Sudani and Maher Nazeh, and two Al-Jazeera TV staffers, Elie Brakhya and reporter Carmen Joukhadar. CPJ is trying to confirm the names of others reported injured in the attack.

The journalists were covering the back-and-forth shelling near Al-Shaab between Israel Defense Forces and Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group.

“Journalists are making great sacrifices across the region to cover this important conflict,” said Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, in Washington, D.C. “All parties should recognize that they are civilians and take measures to ensure their safety.”

Since the start of the Israeli-Gaza conflict, CPJ has documented 11 killed journalists and is investigating additional reports of journalists killed, injured, and reported missing as the Israel-Gaza conflict widened to neighboring Lebanon and Israeli troops launched ground raids into the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Journalists reported killed, missing, injured or detained:

October 13, 2023


Issam Abdallah

Abdallah, a Beirut-based videographer for the Reuters news agency, was killed during a shelling attack near the Lebanon border. Abdallah and a group of other journalists were covering the back-and-forth shelling near Al-Shaab in southern Lebanon between Israeli forces and Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group.

October 12, 2023


Ahmed Shehab

A journalist for Sowt Al-Asra Radio (Radio Voice of the Prisoners), Shehab, along with his wife and three children, was killed in an Israeli airstrike that struck his house in Jabalia, located in the northern Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate and the London-based news website The New Arab.

October 11, 2023


Mohamed Fayez Abu Matar

Abu Matar, a freelance photojournalist, was killed during an Israeli airstrike in Rafah city, in the southern Gaza Strip, according to The Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate and to the Palestinian Authority’s official news agency Wafa.

October 9, 2023


Saeed al-Taweel

Al-Taweel, editor-in-chief of the Al-Khamsa News website, was killed when Israeli warplanes struck an area housing several media outlets in Rimal district in western Gaza, specifically targeting the Hiji building, according to the U.K.-based newspaper, The Independent, the Qatari-owned English-language news channel Al Jazeera English, and the Palestinian Authority’s official news agency Wafa.

Mohammed Sobh

Sobh, a photographer from “Khabar” News Agency, also was killed in the Rimal district air strike, according to the news reports.

Hisham Alnwajha

Alnwajha, a journalist at the “Khabar” news agency, also was reported killed in the same bombing that took the lives of Al-Taweel and Sobh.

October 8, 2023


Assaad Shamlakh

Shamlakh, a freelance journalist, was killed along with nine members of his family in an Israeli airstrike on their home in Sheikh Ijlin, a neighborhood in the southern Gaza Strip, according to the Beirut-based nonprofit research and advocacy organization, The Legal Agenda (LA), and BBC Arabic.

October 7, 2023


Yaniv Zohar

Zohar, an Israeli photographer working for the Israeli Hebrew-language daily newspaper Israel Hayom, was killed during a Hamas attack on Kibbutz Nahal Oz in southern Israel. Israel Hayom and Israel National News reported that his wife and two daughters also died in the attack.  Israel Hayom editor-in-chief Omer Lachmanovitch told CPJ that Yaniv was working on that day.

Mohammad Al-Salhi

Al-Salhi, a photojournalist working for the Fourth Authority news agency, was shot dead near a Palestinian refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian Authority’s official news agency Wafa, and the Journalist Support Committee (JSC), a nonprofit which promotes the rights of the media in the Middle East.

Mohammad Jarghoun

Mohammad Jarghoun, a journalist with Smart Media, was shot while reporting on the conflict in an area to the east of Rafah city in the southern Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian press freedom group MADA and the JSC.

Ibrahim Mohammad Lafi

Ibrahim Mohammad Lafi, a photographer for Ain Media, was shot and killed at the Gaza Strip’s Erez Crossing into Israel,according to MADA and JSC.


Nidal Al-Wahidi

Palestinian photographer from the Al-Najah channel was reported missing by MADA. Later, Al-Wahidi’s family informed the media that the journalist had been detained by the Israeli army.


Haitham Abdelwahid

Palestinian photographer from the Ain Media agency was also reported missing by MADA.

Roee Idan

The Israeli Ynet photographer, whose wife was killed, was reported missing and his family fears he was taken hostage along with his 3-year-old daughter. CPJ confirmed that he was working on the day his family was attacked.


Ibrahim Qanan

Qanan, a correspondent for Al-Ghad channel, was injured by shrapnel in the city of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, according to MADA and JSC.

Firas Lutfi

Police assaulted Lufti, a correspondent with privately owned Sky News Arabia,  along with other Sky News journalists in the southern city of Ashkelon, according to members of the television crew. Lutfi said Israeli police aimed rifles at his head, forced him to remove his clothes, confiscated the team’s phones, and made them leave the area under police escort.

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