Palestinian journalist covering Gaza incursion shot in back by Israeli troops

Palestinian friends and relatives attend the funeral of paramedic Ahmed al-Madhoun, 43, who was killed during clashes with Israeli forces in Beit Hanoun in Gaza, 4 November 2006. (MaanImages/Wesam Saleh)

Reporters Without Borders accused the Israeli government of indifference to repeated acts of violence by its troops against journalists after a young Palestinian cameraman sustained serious gunshot wounds on 3 November 2006, in Beit Hanun, in the north of the Gaza Strip.

“We again urge Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s government to call the Israeli Defence Force to order,” the press freedom organisation said. “Journalists working in the Gaza Strip are often the victims of what appear to be targeted shootings. Such behaviour towards media personnel will continue until transparent investigations are carried out and those responsible are punished.”

The victim was Hamza Al Attar, 21, a cameraman working for the Palestinian news agency Ramattan, who was shot in the back while covering a protest by women in Beit Hanun calling for an end to the ongoing siege of the town by Israeli troops. He was wearing a bullet-proof vest marked “Press” and was more than 500 yards from the nearest Israeli tanks when shot. He was rushed to a hospital where doctors described his condition as critical.

Several journalists were injured on 26 July while covering an Israeli army incursion into the Gaza Strip. Ibrahim Atla, a cameraman with the Palestinian public TV station, was hit by shrapnel that pierced his chest. His assistant and a Japanese journalist were also injured, while a Reuters news agency vehicle was badly damaged during the same incursion (see IFEX alert of 26 July 2006).

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