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Reuters cameraman killed, 6 other journalists hurt after explosion near Israel-Lebanon border

Photojournalist Issam Abdallah was killed after a mortar fired by Israeli forces landed near the journalists on Friday.

Photojournalist Issam Abdallah was killed after a mortar fired by Israeli forces landed near the journalists on Friday.

Reuters photojournalist Issam Abdallah. (Photo via social media)
Reuters photojournalist Issam Abdallah. (Photo via social media)

A Reuters television cameraman was killed and six other journalists were injured after an Israeli shell landed near their convoy along the Israel-Lebanon border on Friday.

The slain Reuters cameraman was identified by the news agency as Issam Abdallah. He was producing a live video feed for Reuters that was being widely picked up by other news outlets, when a loud blast was heard and the video went out of focus.

A female journalist, later identified as Al Jazeera reporter Carmen Joukhadar, was heard yelling in pain after the blast. Gruesome video footage aired by rival network Al Arabiya showed Joukhadar suffering from a number of wounds, including a gash that left a portion of her lower leg missing.

Al Jazeera later confirmed that Joukhadar and her cameraman, Elie Brakhya, were injured in the explosion. Footage aired on Al Arabiya and distributed on Telegram showed Joukhadar was wearing protective gear that clearly identified her as a journalist.

In total, six journalists were hurt in the explosion. Reuters said its journalists, Thaer Al-Sudani and Maher Nazeh, were among those injured. Agence-France Presse said two of its journalists were also hurt, but the news outlet did not reveal their identities.

Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesperson for the United Nations (UN), said the situation was “another example of the daily dangers journalists face in covering conflict throughout the world,” and reaffirmed the U.N.’s position that “journalists need to be protected and allowed to do their work.”

Gilad Erdan, the U.N. ambassador from Israel, vowed to launch an investigation into what happened.

“We always try to mitigate and avoid civilian casualties,” Erdan said. “Obviously, we would never want to hit or kill or shoot any journalist who is doing their job. But, you know, we’re in a state of war. Things might happen. We regret them, we feel sorry, and we will investigate it.”

It was the latest situation involving reporters and photographers who were caught in the crossfire of an increasingly-tense situation between Israel and militants from Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah following last weekend’s terrorist attack.

Over the past week, at least six Palestinian journalists were identified among the hundreds of casualties and fatalities along the Gaza Strip since the latest war between Israel and Hamas started, according to information from the Committee to Protect Journalists and other rights organizations.

The dead include photographer Ibrahim Mohammad Lafi, who was fatally shot while covering the ongoing crisis at a crossing into Israel, and Smart Media reporter Mohammad Jarghoun, according to a statement from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).


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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).