On October 13th, the Israeli occupation directly aimed at journalist crews in the Alma Al Shaab area of South Lebanon, resulting in the tragic death of Reuters journalist Issam Abdullah and causing injuries to the following:
- Elie Brakhia, Al Jazeera correspondent
- Christina Mustafa Assi, AFP correspondent
- Carmen Joughadar, Al Jazeera correspondent
- Maher Abdul Latif, Reuters
- Thaer Zuhair Kazem, Reuters
- Dylan Collins, AFP
- Mohamed Hassan, Tasnim Agency's photographer
The area where these media crews were positioned was notably distant from the frontlines, with no ongoing military operations or installations. Journalists had diligently observed all safety protocols, which included clearly identifying themselves as journalists and wearing protective vests and helmets. These details strongly suggest that the Israeli targeting of journalist crews was a deliberate act, devoid of any justification for Israel to attack this civilian point.
In light of this, the Journalist Support Committee (JSC) unequivocally asserts that this targeting constitutes a war crime. According to international humanitarian law, journalists, as civilians, are protected from direct attacks as long as they do not directly engage in hostilities. Any violation of this principle amounts to a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions and its Additional Protocol I. Deliberately directing a direct attack against a civilian is also considered a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
The JSC places full legal responsibility on the Israeli authorities for deliberately targeting journalists, resulting in casualties and injuries. The international community, too, bears responsibility for failing to safeguard journalists in Palestine and Lebanon and for its unwarranted silence in the face of ongoing violations against journalists.
The JSC strongly rejects any unclear justifications for this attack and calls on UNIFIL, all media agencies, and journalists present during the targeting operation to provide a comprehensive account of the events before, during, and after the targeting operation. This information will aid relevant authorities and human rights organizations in describing the incident and conducting investigations.
The JSC urges UN organizations and entities responsible for protecting journalists to establish additional legal mechanisms for ensuring sufficient protection for journalists working in conflict zones. The JSC appeals to the International Federation of Journalists, UNESCO, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and all relevant UN organizations to conduct a transparent, clear, and impartial investigation into the war crimes committed by the Israeli occupation against journalists and to work diligently to safeguard journalists and media facilities from violations and attacks, creating a secure working environment for them.