‘Nowhere is safe’: Reporters Without Borders says Israel clearly targeting reporters

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A total of 41 journalists have been killed so far in the Israel-Hamas war, which began on October 7, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in a statement decrying Israel’s blanket bombardment targeting reporters and media premises in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The NGO accused Israel for its “lack of interest” in protecting journalists which it said were “clearly covering the news.”

Israel has repeatedly said its armed forces are not targeting journalists.

In an October report investigating the killing of Issam Abdallah, a Lebanese photojournalist from the British agency Reuters and four other journalists from the Agence France-Presse (AFP), the RSF stated Israeli forces “explicitly targeted” them.

The reporters were covering the clashes between Hezbollah and Israel in southern Lebanon.

“The initial findings of the investigation show that the reporters were not collateral victims of the shooting,” the RSF report said. “One of their vehicles, marked ‘press,’ was targeted, and it was also clear that the group stationed next to it was journalists.”

People lift placards and portraits of video journalist Issam Abdallah killed on October 13 by Israeli shelling at Alma al-Shaab border village with Israel while covering cross border shelling, during a protest facing UN headquarters in downtown Beirut on October 15, 2023. (AFP)
People lift placards and portraits of video journalist Issam Abdallah killed on October 13 by Israeli shelling at Alma al-Shaab border village with Israel while covering cross border shelling, during a protest facing UN headquarters in downtown Beirut on October 15, 2023. (AFP)

The RSF report said it was “unlikely” the journalists were mistaken for combatants since they were standing on top of a hill.

The investigation is ongoing, particularly to establish the origin of the shots. After the blasts, the journalist present at the scene testified that the shell that killed Abdallah, a 37-year-old veteran journalist, came “from the direction of the Israeli border.”

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“Nowhere is safe for journalists in the Gaza Strip,” the RSF said, adding that reporters in the enclave are covering “this century’s deadliest wars” in constant danger of death.

No safety guarantee

Ten out of the 36 journalists killed in the Gaza Strip were killed while covering the news, according to RSF findings.

More than 50 media premises have been completely or partially destroyed by Israeli airstrikes.

On November 3, Israeli airstrikes targeted the Hajji tower in Gaza which houses the offices of AFP, Al Jazeera, Ain Media and other local media outlets.



Five days before the strike, Israeli Defense Forces had notified AFP and Reuters news agency that they could not “guarantee the safety of their journalists in Gaza,” Reuters reported, citing the IDF.

“What is happening in the Gaza Strip is a tragedy for journalism, with more than one reporter a day killed since October 7,” said Jonathan Dagher, RSF’s Head of the Middle East desk.

“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.”

Palestinian journalist Mohammad Abu Hasira. (X/@QudsNen)
Palestinian journalist Mohammad Abu Hasira. (X/@QudsNen)

The latest journalist killed by Israeli airstrikes was Mohammad Abu Hasira, a Palestinian reporter working for the state news agency WAFA. He was killed alongside 42 of his family members by a strike on his home in Gaza City on the night of November 5.

The RSF has called 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.”

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