NGOs call for war crimes probe into journalist death in Lebanon: Israel | Israel-Palestine conflict

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Rights groups have condemned Israeli strikes in southern Lebanon that killed a journalist and injured six others, calling it a likely direct attack on civilians and urging an investigation into the incident as a war crime. The attacks occurred on October 13, when Israel’s military shot artillery shells at journalists near the border, resulting in the death of Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah and injuries to six other journalists, including Al Jazeera cameraperson Elie Brakhia and reporter Carmen Joukhadar.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International conducted separate investigations and both concluded that the Israeli military’s actions appeared to be targeted attacks on civilians. HRW stated that the evidence indicated that the Israeli military knew or should have known that the group of people they were firing on were civilians, making the attack a war crime. The group called on Israel’s allies, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Germany, to suspend military assistance and arms sales to Israel due to the risk of grave abuses.

Amnesty International’s report also characterized the Israeli military strikes as a likely direct attack on civilians and emphasized the need for an investigation into the incident as a war crime. The group’s investigation indicated that the journalists were well removed from ongoing hostilities, clearly identifiable as members of the media, and had been stationary for at least 75 minutes before they were hit. Aya Majzoub, Amnesty’s deputy regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, stressed that no journalist should ever be targeted or killed simply for carrying out their work, and called for accountability for the attacks.

The media rights group Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) highlighted the unprecedented danger faced by journalists covering the Gaza war on the ground. Since the outbreak of the Gaza war, at least 63 journalists have been killed, including 56 Palestinians, four Israelis, and three Lebanese nationals. CPJ described the war as leading to the deadliest month for journalists since the organization began tracking data in 1992.

The attacks on journalists in southern Lebanon have sparked widespread condemnation from international rights groups, who are calling for accountability and justice for the victims. The incidents have raised concerns about the safety of journalists covering conflicts and the need for greater protection for media personnel in conflict zones. The international community has been urged to take action to prevent further attacks on journalists and to ensure that those responsible for such attacks are held accountable for their actions.

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