Reuters video journalist killed in Israeli shelling in southern Lebanon

White House National Security Council official tells Al Arabiya English that US officials are working to gather more information

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An Israeli shell landed in a gathering of international journalists covering clashes on the border in south Lebanon on Friday, killing a Reuters videographer and leaving six other journalists injured.

An Associated Press photographer at the scene saw the body of Reuters videographer Issam Abdallah and the six who were wounded, some of whom were rushed to hospitals in ambulances. Images from the scene showed a charred car.

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“We are deeply saddened to tell you that our videographer, Issam Abdallah, has been killed,” the Reuters news agency said in a statement. The agency added that Abdallah was part of a Reuters crew in southern Lebanon that was providing a live signal.

Reuters said that two of its journalists, Thaer Al-Sudani and Maher Nazeh, were wounded in the shelling in the border area.

White House spokesperson Olivia Dalton told reporters on Friday US President Joe Biden’s prayers are with families of the Reuters news videographer who was killed while working in southern Lebanon.

“We know that the work that you all do is incredibly dangerous and today is reminder of that,” Dalton said.

A White House National Security Council official told Al Arabiya English that US officials were working to gather further information. “Journalism is fundamental to a free society. Today and every day, we stand with journalists around the world who do critical work that we all rely on every single day, sometimes in dangerous conditions,” NSC Spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in an e-mailed statement.

A group of journalists from different media outlets were near Alma al-Shaab close to the border with Israel when they were caught up in cross-border shelling, one of the two wounded AFP correspondents said.

A Lebanese security source had told AFP that initial Israeli shelling followed an infiltration attempt by a Palestinian faction from the Lebanese side of the border.

Al-Jazeera said two of their reporters were among the wounded, blaming “Israeli bombing on their vehicle.” They named them as Carmen Joukhadar and Elie Brakhya.

“We are deeply concerned that a group of journalists who were clearly identified have been killed and injured while doing their job,” said AFP’s global news director Phil Chetwynd.

“We send our deepest condolences to our friends at Reuters for the loss of Issam and we are all pulling for our injured colleagues in hospital.”

AFP correspondents had reported shelling targeting the villages of Dhayra, Alma al-Shaab and Adaysseh, with smoke billowing from the area.

With agencies

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