Israeli airstrikes in Gaza killed three journalists on Tuesday as fighting between Israeli and Hamas forces continued into its seventh day.
The deaths were confirmed by the head of the Hamas-run TV channel, Al Aqsa TV where two of the journalists worked, as well as a health official in Gaza.
Station head, Mohammed Thouraya explained that the two Al Aqsa cameraman were travelling in a car with press markings in Gaza City after reporting on a story at Gaza’s Shifa Hospital.
Video footage of the attack shows people trying to extinguish the fire which had engulfed the press car carrying Mohammed Al-Kumi and Hussam Salam.
A third journalist was killed when a missile struck his car, according to reports.
Health official, Ashraf Al-Kidra said that Mohammed Abu Eisha died when a missile struck his car in the central town of Deir El-Balah.
Eisha worked at the private radio station, Al Quds Educational Radio.
Israeli officials acknowledged that the journalists had been targeted, and said that they had been killed because of their connections to terrorists.
Military spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Avital Leibovich said: “The targets are people who have relevance to terror activity.”
Thouraya denied his employees had been involved in violence, stating: “Our crew were fighters, but they were not fighting with weapons. They were fighting with their cameras. They were on the battlefield to defend the people by filming these awful crimes and broadcasting them to the world.”
Media targeted in ongoing conflict
The attacks came a matter of days after the bombardment of the Al Aqsa and Al Quds TV media centres, which left eight journalists injured, including one who lost his leg in the air strike.
Both TV stations are affiliated to Hamas, and have been accused of being involved in military operations with the group.
Israeli government spokesperson, Mark Regev said that both Al Aqsa and Al Quds “are integral parts of terrorist military organisations,” and that employees of both “are not journalists by any meaning of the word.”
DCMF condemns targeting of journalists
The Doha Centre for Media Freedom strongly condemns the recent attacks on journalists in Gaza which have left three journalists dead and many others injured.
The targeting of journalists is completely unacceptable and the centre is urging the Israeli authorities to put an end to this unjustified attack on media workers. In conflict situations, journalists should be considered civilians, and not legitimate military targets.
DCMF offers its condolences to the families of the victims of the attack, and hopes that steps can be taken to ensure that similar losses of life do not occur in the future.
Journalists play an essential role in covering the reality on the ground for citizens during times of conflict, and while there are risks involved with carrying out this work, it is a totally different proposition when journalists are being deliberately targeted by military operations.
DCMF finds the targeting of these media workers utterly deplorable and is calling on the international community to put pressure on the Israeli authorities to put at immediate end to these operations.
Source: DCMF, AP