Seven journalists killed in the line of duty in Gaza and Lebanon in past seven days: the "bloody week" for journalism in the Middle East
Before the death of Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah on the southern border of Lebanon, six reporters had been killed in the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, not counting those killed outside the course of their work during this bloody week.
On Saturday, 14 October, reporter Issam Abdallah was buried in the Lebanese town of El Khayam, where he was born and grew up. The videographer was killed late yesterday while reporting for the British news agency Reuters with several colleagues. The group of journalists, clearly identifiable according to several sources, was stationed near Alma al Chaab, in southern Lebanon on the border with Israel, to cover the clashes between Israeli military forces and those of the Islamist armed group Hezbollah in Lebanon.
In total, around 10 journalists have been killed in the region within a week, including seven in Gaza and Lebanon under Israeli bombardment and fire. These include photojournalists Mohammed Soboh of the Palestinian news agency Khabar, Hisham al-Nawajha of the independent Palestinian news channel Al Khamissa, Ibrahim Lafi of the production company Ain Media, and Mohammad al-Salihi of the Palestinian news agency al-Sulta al-Rabia, as well as Saïd al-Tawil, editor-in-chief of Al Khamissa, and Mohammed Abou Matar, correspondent for Roya News.
“We are stunned by this sad record of seven journalists killed in seven days during this bloody week, as a result of Israel's indiscriminate response to the horrific massacre committed by Hamas,” explained Christophe Deloire, Secretary General of RSF. “We solemnly call on the Israeli authorities to put an end to military practices that violate international law and result in the deaths of civilians, including journalists. RSF calls on the parties involved to implement their obligations to protect journalists during conflicts, and on international institutions to ensure that these protection measures are respected.”.
Issam Abdallah, 37, had worked for Reuters in Beirut for 16 years. A videographer in areas of tension, he has covered the conflict in Ukraine in recent months and, in 2020, the explosion in the port of Beirut. In his last photo posted on his Instagram account on 7 October, the reporter paid tribute to Shireen Abu Akleh, journalist from Al Jazeera and correspondent in Palestine, who was killed in May 2022 while covering an Israeli army raid in Jenin on the West Bank.
Six other journalists were injured on Friday, 13 October: two members of the Reuters team, Thaer Al-Sudani and Maher Nazeh, an image reporter (Dylan Collins), and a photographer (Christina Assi) from Agence France Presse (AFP), as well as two journalists from the Qatari television channel Al Jazeera, Carmen Jokhadar and cameraman Elie Barkhya. They were taken to the American University of Beirut hospital. Their lives are out of danger, but Christina Assi is still in intensive care.