Israel/Palestine war: 41 journalists, more than one a day, killed in first month of Israel-Palestine war

A total of 41 journalists have so far been killed in the Israel-Palestine war which began on 7 October. 36 among them are Palestinian reporters killed by Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for the protection of those still there.

Nowhere is safe for journalists in the Gaza Strip. Whether they are out in the open, operating  in press tents set up near hospitals, or in their homes or makeshift shelters with their family members, reporters in the Gaza Strip covering one of this century’s deadliest wars are in constant danger of death.

Just one month after Hamas’ shocking attack and Israel’s subsequent armed response, the toll is terrifying – no fewer than 36 journalists have been killed by Israeli strikes in Gaza in 31 days of war.

The latest victims include Mohammad Abu Hassir, a Palestinian journalist working for the official Palestinian press agency Wafa. He was killed along with several of his family members by a strike on his home in Gaza City on the night of 5 November. He was the ninth journalist to be killed in November in this narrow territory of 45 square kilometres – an area where civilians are trapped with no possible way out, living, as one journalist said, “under constant pressure from air, land and sea strikes everywhere.”

Disregard for obligation to protect journalists

The Israeli authorities have repeatedly said that their armed forces are “not targeting journalists” but they have not hidden their lack of interest in protecting them either. According to the information so far gathered by RSF, ten of the 36 journalists killed in the Gaza Strip were killed while clearly covering the news.

More than 50 media premises have been completely or partially destroyed by Israeli strikes. The latest was the Agence France-Presse bureau on 3 November. Five days earlier, on 28 October, at the start of a media blackout imposed during a ground operation, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) notified AFP and the Reuters news agency that they could not “guarantee the safety of their journalists in Gaza”

“What is happening in the Gaza Strip is a tragedy for journalism, with more than one reporter a day killed since 7 October. The toll of media professionals killed, along with the thousands of civilians, is growing by the day. With their arbitrary airstrikes, the Israeli armed forces are eliminating journalists one after the other without restraint, all while their unacceptable comments betray an open contempt for international humanitarian law. The situation is urgent. We call for the protection of journalists in the Gaza Strip, and for foreign journalists to be allowed to enter the territory, so they can work freely.

Jonathan Dagher
Head of RSF’s Middle East desk

Long list of Palestinian journalists killed

Three photojournalists, Ibrahim Lafi, Mohammed al-Salihi and Mohamad Jarghoun, were killed in the very early hours of the war, on Day One on 7 October, while covering the Israeli army’s response to the Hamas attack. Saīd al-Tawil, the editor of  local media outlet al-Khamisa, one of its reporters, Hisham al-Nawajha, and Khabar photojournalist Mohammad Sobboh were killed by a strike while covering the war three days later, on 10 October. That same evening, four other journalists were killed by strikes in their homes, along with members of their families.

In the days that followed, and up to the time of writing, the number of journalists killed has continued to mount, almost every day. On 30 October, three reporters working in Gaza for Palestine TV, the official public TV channel of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, were killed with family members during strikes on their homes.

Of the nine journalists killed in the seven days since the start of November, three were killed on 2 November – which is also International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. On learning that his colleague Mohammed Abu Hatab was among those killed, a distraught Gaza-based Palestine TV reporter tore off his press vest while on air and cried in anger: “We are dying one after the other, and no one looks at us anymore (...) We do not benefit from any protection, from any international protection.”

Reporter killed in Lebanon, six others wounded

Reuters videojournalist Issam Abdallah was killed in southern Lebanon on 13 October, during strikes that injured six other journalists working for AFP, Reuters and Qatari TV news channel Al Jazeera. An RSF investigation established that the spot where the journalists were located was targeted by two strikes coming from the east, from the direction of the Israeli border.

Four Israeli journalists victims of Hamas attack

Four Israeli journalists were killed in the Hamas attack on 7 October on the Kfar Aza rave party and kibbutz near the Gaza Strip. They included Roee Idan, a reporter for the newspaper YNet, who was killed along with his family. His last photos, taken a few minutes before his death, have been published in his newspaper.

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