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Reuters editor says Israel must offer transparent investigation after journalist killed in Lebanon

Photojournalist Issam Abdallah died after a mortar fired by Israeli defense forces landed near a group of journalists last Friday.

Photojournalist Issam Abdallah died after a mortar fired by Israeli defense forces landed near a group of journalists last Friday.

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

The top editor at international news organization Reuters has called for the Israeli government to open a full and transparent investigation into the death of its photojournalist last Friday.

The journalist, Issam Abdallah, was producing a live broadcast for Reuters from the Israel-Lebanon border last Friday when a mortar fired by Israeli defense forces landed on a vehicle used by other journalists in the area.

Abdallah was killed in the blast, and six other journalists were injured. The casualties include a reporter and a cameraman from Arabic news channel Al Jazeera and two photographers working for Agence France-Presse.

The other two journalists who were injured in the explosion were identified as Reuters employees.

All seven journalists were wearing protective equipment that clearly identified them as members of the news media. Their blue bulletproof vests contained a clear and conspicuous “PRESS” label, and several of the journalists were wearing helmets at the time of the blast.

Reuters issued a public statement identifying Abdallah as the deceased journalist following widespread reports on social media, including X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

“Our newsroom is reporting out the details of what happened,” Alessandra Galloni, the editor-in-chief of Reuters, said in a statement on Monday. “And, so, I am reiterating my call for the Israeli authorities to conduct a swift, thorough and transparent probe into what happened.”

Galloni later clarified that she wanted Israeli government officials to offer “an investigation with clear evidence and explanation” as to what happened leading up to Abdallah’s killing.

“I also reiterate my call to the Israeli Defense Forces for clarity as to the terms of engagement for this conflict,” she said.

Israel has been in a state of war for more than a week after militants from the terrorist organization Hamas crossed over the border between Gaza and the country. The militants carried out an unprecedented wave of terrorist attacks in the eastern and southern portion of Israel, leaving hundreds of Israelis dead and more than a thousand citizens injured.

Israel has responded by carrying out air bombardment campaigns and a full-blown ground invasion of Gaza. To the north, Israeli forces have been engaged in battle with militants from the Lebanese group Hezbollah, which has ties to Hamas.

Galloni’s full statement on the situation involving Abdallah is below:

Reuters video journalist Issam Abdallah was killed on Friday, October 13 when a shell hit him while he was filming cross-border fire between Israel and Lebanon.Thaer Al-Sudani and Maher Nazeh, two other Reuters journalists, and colleagues from AFP and Al Jazeera were also injured in the shelling.

Eyewitnesses at the scene said the shell that killed Issam came from Israel.

Our newsroom is reporting out the details of what happened, and so I am reiterating my call to the Israeli authorities who have said they are investigating to conduct a swift, thorough and transparent probe into what happened. By “transparent”, I mean an investigation with clear evidence and explanation.

And I also reiterate my call to the Israeli Defense Forces for clarity regarding the terms of engagement in this conflict. I also ask Lebanon, which has said it has gathered evidence on the attack, and any other authority with information, to provide it. And I urge all parties in this conflict to respect and work with all media to ensure the safety of journalists reporting in the region.

Issam was an experienced, talented and passionate journalist who was much loved by his colleagues here at Reuters. He was just doing his job when he was killed. Reporting on world events with accuracy, integrity, independence and freedom from bias is core to what we stand for at Reuters, and it is critically important for our journalists to be able to do so safely.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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