The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today accused the Israeli Defence Forces of waging war on journalists in Gaza. The Federation was reacting to yesterday’s strikes which killed three journalists who were traveling in their cars, with press signs, in two separates incidents in Gaza city.
“This latest deadly attack targeting journalists is clear evidence that the Israeli military has declared war on journalists in Gaza,” said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. “There can be no more lame excuses from the Israeli Air Force that it was targeting its enemy’s communications. The army which claims its strikes are surgically precise must have known there were journalists in this car and it should be accountable for what appears to amount to a war crime.”
Media reports say that Mahmoud Al-Komi, cameraman for Al-Aqsa TV and his colleague Hossam Salameh were killed when their car was hit by an Israeli missile near the Ashifa hospital. The two were reportedly on their way to the hospital where victims of the Israeli attacks were being treated. In a separate incident , another journalist, Muhammad Abu Aisha who was the director of al-Quds Educational radio, was also killed in his car.
In the meanwhile, journalists in Gaza have reported more attacks on media offices and hotels where journalists are staying. The AFP offices in Gaza were among media facilities which were hit, along with Deira and Beach hotels.
The Israeli Defence Forces have warned journalists in a tweet to stay away from Hamas facilities whom they accuse of using media as a human shield. But the IFJ says that the warning should be given ahead of any attack to allow for evacuation of civilians, including journalists.
“The intimidation of journalists has turned into an open war through the Israeli Defence Forces’ practice of shooting first and warning later,” added Boumelha. This is reckless and highly irresponsible and we are urging the world community to investigate potential breaches of international humanitarian law.”
The IFJ is examing options for an urgent mission to Gaza to investigate the targeting and killing of journalists.