Israel-Hamas war: 36 journalists killed in conflict so far

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The conflict is the deadliest for journalists since casualties began being tracked in 1992.

By Dominic Ponsford and Charlotte Tobitt

Journalists at the funeral for Mohammed Rizq Sobh and Saeed Al-Taweel amid Israel-Gaza conflict
Journalists at the funeral for Mohammed Rizq Sobh and Saeed Al-Taweel. Picture: Video screenshot

At least 31 journalists have been killed in the first three weeks of the fighting in Israel and Gaza.

The dead include 31 Palestinians either bombed or shot by the Israeli military in Gaza Strip, many of whom were killed alongside family members. A number of others are missing.

The grim total also includes four Israeli journalists and one Lebanese – a Reuters journalist killed while livestreaming clashes on the Lebanon-Israel border. Reporters Without Borders has since said it believes journalists were specifically targeted in that attack as they were clearly marked as press.

Israel has reportedly told Reuters and Agence France Presse, which had journalists injured in the same attack, that it cannot guarantee the safety of their journalists in Gaza. The Israel Defence Forces said in a letter that it was targeting Hamas, which has deliberately put its operations “in the vicinity of journalists and civilians”, adding: “Under these circumstances, we cannot guarantee your employees’ safety, and strongly urge you to take all necessary measures for their safety.”

Over the weekend of Friday 27 to Sunday 29 October, many international news bureaux lost contact with their local reporters in Gaza due to a communications blackout. The Committee to Protect Journalists warned that this was also a “news blackout” that could “lead to serious consequences with an independent, factual information vacuum that can be filled with deadly propaganda, dis- and misinformation”.

Al Jazeera Media Network, which is also facing attempts by Israel to shut down its local bureau, said it was “deeply concerned about the safety, and well-being of our colleagues in Gaza and hold the Israeli authorities responsible for their security.

Other threats to journalists and newsgathering

According to the International Federation of Journalists, Israeli airstrikes completely or partially destroyed Al-Ayyam newspaper, Gaza FM, the headquarters of Shehab news agency and the offices of Palestinian news agency Ma’an among other media outlets.

A team from BBC Arabic were “stopped and assaulted” by Israel police in Tel Aviv on Thursday 12 October, according to the broadcaster.

Their car was marked with red “TV” tape and the journalists showed their press cards but one of the journalists, Muhannad Tutunji, said he was hit on the neck and his phone was taken and thrown on the ground. “Journalists must be able to report on the conflict in Israel-Gaza freely,” a BBC spokesperson said.

And a BBC reporter in Gaza wrote about being made homeless twice in the space of five days, first in the evacuation of northern Gaza and secondly by a bomb next to a home he and his family had found in the southern city of Khan Younis.

Rushi Abu Alouf wrote: “Honestly, I don’t know what to do – it is hard to be a reporter and try to look after my family like this. I struggle to find food and water for them. We now don’t have a home. I’ve covered the previous wars in Gaza but this is the first time my family has been so affected.”

The following summary of media casualties is per the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), with other sources included where possible.

The current conflict in Israel is the most deadly for journalists covering conflict since the CPJ began tracking casualties in 1992. It quickly overtook the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began in February 2022 and has so far seen 15 journalists and media workers killed.

Journalists killed during the Israel-Hamas war

Thursday 2 November

Palestine TV correspondent Mohammed Abu Hatab was killed with 11 members of his family in a strike on their home in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza.

He was reporting for the channel until hours before his death:

Wednesday 1 November

Journalist Majd Fadl Arandas who worked for the news website Al-Jamaheer was killed in a strike on the Nuseirat refugee camp.

Fellow journalist Iyad Matar, who worked for Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa TV, was killed alongside his mother in an airstrike.

Tuesday 31 October

Two Palestine TV colleagues died alongside their families in an Israeli airstrike, the channel said.

According to CPJ Imad Al-Wahidi was a media worker and administrator for the channel, while Majed Kashko was a media worker and its office director.

Monday 30 October

Several sources reported the death of journalist Nazmi Al-Nadim alongside his family in an airstrike in eastern Gaza. Al-Nadim reportedly worked for Palestine TV, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists as its deputy director of finance and administration.

Friday 27 October

Al-Sahel journalist Yasser Abu Namous and his mother were killed in an airstrike in the west of Khan Younis, according to multiple sources including Al Jazeera.

Thursday 26 October

Voice of Al-Aqsa radio host Duaa Sharaf was killed alongside her child in a missile strike on her home in Gaza, Middle East Monitor reported.

Wednesday 25 October

Two Al-Aqsa journalists were killed in Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip on the same day: Saed Al-Halabi and Ahmed Abu Mhadi.

Freelance journalist Salma Mkhaimer was also killed in an airstrike alongside her child.

Monday 23 October

Mohammed Imad Labad, a journalist for the Al Resalah news website, was killed in an Israeli airstrike in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in Gaza City.

Sunday 22 October

Palestinian journalist Roshdi Sarraj, founder of agency Ain Media, was killed in an Israeli airstrike on the Tel Al Hawa neighbourhood of Gaza City, according to Radio France.

Sarraj had been working as a fixer for Radio France correspondents since May 2021. The station said he “played a crucial role in our information mission” and was an “outstanding journalist”.

One of Sarraj’s final tweets, posted on 17 October, said: “A lack of media coverage from Gaza .. due to the killing [of] more than 12 journalists, the bombing, and the blackout of electricity and the Internet. However, we are still trying to withstand and continue coverage so the world can see the israili [sic] crimes in Gaza.”

Friday 20 October

Al-Shabab (youth) Radio journalist Mohammed Ali was killed in an Israeli airstrike on the northern Gaza Strip.

Thursday 19 October

Khalil Abu Aathra, a videographer for the Hamas-affiliated Al Aqsa TV, was killed with his brother in an Israeli airstrike in Rafah.

Wednesday 18 October

Sameeh Al-Nady, also a journalist for Al Aqsa TV, was killed in an Israeli airstrike.

Tuesday 17 October

Mohammad Balousha, who worked for Palestine Today, was killed in an Israeli airstrike on the Al-Saftawi neighbourhood in northern Gaza, the Turkey-based Anadoula agency reported.

Issam Bhar, a journalist for Al Aqsa TV, was also killed in an Israeli airstrike in northern Gaza.

Monday 16 October

Abdulhadi Habib, who worked for Al-Manara News Agency and HQ News Agency, was killed in a missile strike on his home in the south of Gaza City alongside several members of his family.

Saturday 14 October

Yousef Maher Dawas, a contributing writer for Palestine Chronicle and a writer for Palestinian non-profit project We Are Not Numbers, was killed in an Israeli missile strike on his family home.

Friday 13 October

Reuters video journalist Issam Abdallah was killed in southern Lebanon in a missile strike from the direction of Israel, according to the news agency.

A further six journalists – two colleagues each from Reuters, Al Jazeera and Agence France-Presse (AFP) – were injured in the strike.

Abdallah and the other journalists had been providing a live video feed of clashes on the Lebanon-Israel border.

Israel’s UN envoy Gilad Erdan said in a briefing, reported by Reuters, on Friday: “Obviously, we would never want to hit or kill or shoot any journalist that is doing its job. But you know, we’re in a state of war, things might happen.” An Israeli military spokesperson later said they were “very sorry” for Abdallah’s death.

Abdallah, who was Lebanese, was laid to rest in his hometown on Saturday surrounded by dozens of journalists.

Also on Friday, Husam Mubarak, a journalist for Hamas-run channel Al Aqsa, was killed in an Israeli airstrike in the northern Gaza Strip.

Thursday 12 October

Ahmed Shehab, a journalist for Radio Voice of the Prisoners, was killed along with his wife and three children when an airstrike hit their house in northern Gaza Strip, according to the CPJ.

Wednesday 11 October

Mohammad Fayez Abu Matar was killed whilst covering the Israeli bombing of Rafah in the Gaza Strip. He is a freelance journalist working with international agencies, according to WAFA news agency.

Tuesday 10 October

The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate reported the killing of Mohammed Rizq Sobh (photojournalist), Saeed Al-Taweel (director of the Al-Khamisa news agency) and Hisham Al-Nawajha (correspondent for a news agency in Gaza). They are believed to have all died when Israel bombed the Al Hajji Tower on Al-Mu’asasat Street, west of Gaza City.

Video of the funeral of Al-Taweel and Rizq Sobh has been shared on Twitter by Palestine Online. It shows more than a dozen journalists wearing blue body protector vests marked with press carrying their bodies and flanking the funeral procession.

Monday 9 October

Journalist Salam Mema was killed in an Israeli airstrike on her home in the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza, and her body was pulled out of the rubble four days later. Her eldest son, aged six, was also killed, while the rescue operation for her daughter is ongoing and her other son survived. Mema was a freelance journalist who was the head of the Women Journalists Committee at the Palestinian Media Assembly.

Sunday 8 October

Assaad Shamlakh was killed along with nine members of his family in an Israeli airstrike on their home in the southern Gaza strip, BBC Arabic has reported.

Saturday 7 October

Roee Idan, a photographer for Israeli news website Ynet, was killed in the Hamas terrorist attack. The 43-year-old captured the early moments of the invasion as terrorists paraglided across the border and sent his footage to Ynet before he was shot and killed, according to The Times of Israel. His wife and one of their children were also killed in the attack on Kibbutz Kfar Aza.

Idan’s body was found more than ten days later. Ynet editor Gido Ran said the news was “hard for us to accept”. “We lost a journalist with a rare eye and an unstoppable desire to get close to the story. He will be missed by us forever.”

Palestinian photojournalist Mohammad Al-Salhi was killed by an Israeli army bullet while covering events at the border east of al-Bureij, in the central Gaza Strip.

Yaniv Zohar, a photographer for the Israel Hayom daily newspaper, was killed alongside his wife and two daughters when Hamas terrorists attacked Kibbutz Nahal Oz, Israel National News reported. Zohar was formerly a videojournalist for the Associated Press at its Israel bureau for 15 years from 2005 to 2020 and the agency’s executive editor Julie Pace described him as “AP’s eyes and ears in southern Israel, always among the first to respond to news in the busy region.

““He was a part of the community where he worked, giving him insights that were invaluable to his colleagues. When tensions rose in the Middle East, colleagues would quickly ask, ‘What does Yaniv say?’”

Mahammad Jarghoun, a journalist with Smart Media, was shot dead apparently by Israeli forces whilst reporting east of Bureij near the border with Israel according to WAFA news agency.

Ibrahim Lafi, 21, from Ain Media news agency was shot dead by Israeli forces reporting near the Beit Hanoun checkpoint on the border with Israel.

Shai Regev, 25, an editor for the gossip and entertainment news section of Hebrew-language daily newspaper Ma’ariv, was killed during the Hamas attack on the Supernova music festival. Ma’ariv editor-in-chief Golan Bar-Yosef said Regev was “talented, creative and full of love” while friend and TMI colleague Noa Rachamim said their staff were “struggling to accept and absorb this horrible news about the death of our Shai, who was a major pillar of all TMI activities and our success”.

Also killed at Supernova was 22-year-old Ayelet Arnin, a news editor with the Kan public broadcaster. Kan said in a statement: “Ayelet started working for us a year ago and was the epitome of professionalism and diligence, and always strived for perfection in her work and was very much loved by all of us.” Arnin previously worked as a news editor for the IDF’s Army Radio.

Source: Journalists killed in Israel-Gaza war: 36 killed in four weeks (pressgazette.co.uk)

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