The Israeli army says it cannot guarantee the safety of journalists in Gaza

Smoke rises after an Israeli raid on Gaza as seen from a viewpoint in southern Israel on October 24, 2023. REUTERS/Violeta Santos Mora/File photo Obtaining licensing rights

October 27 (Reuters) – The Israeli army informed the international news organizations Reuters and Agence France-Presse that it cannot guarantee the safety of their journalists working in the Gaza Strip, which has been subjected to Israeli bombing and siege for nearly three weeks.

Gaza, a Palestinian enclave run by the armed Hamas movement, has been under bombardment since October 7, when Hamas militants stormed the Gaza border into Israel and killed about 1,400 people. The Gaza Ministry of Health says that about 7,000 people were killed in the Israeli raids.

The Israeli military wrote to Reuters and Agence France-Presse this week after requesting guarantees that its journalists in Gaza would not be targeted by Israeli strikes.

“The IDF targets all Hamas military activities throughout Gaza,” the IDF letter said, adding that Hamas deliberately carried out military operations “in close proximity to journalists and civilians.”

The Israeli military also noted that its intensified strikes on Hamas targets could cause damage to surrounding buildings and that Hamas rockets could also fail to fire and kill people inside Gaza.

“Under these circumstances, we cannot guarantee the safety of your employees, and we strongly urge you to take all necessary measures for their safety,” the IDF letter concluded.

Hamas did not immediately comment when asked about the Israeli army’s allegations that it carried out military operations near where the journalists were located in Gaza.

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Reuters was unable to verify how many other news organizations operating in Gaza received the same message from the Israeli military.

The Israeli army had no immediate comment.

Reuters and Agence France-Presse said they were very concerned about the safety of journalists in Gaza.

Reuters said in a statement in response to receiving the letter, “The situation on the ground is horrific, and the Israeli army’s unwillingness to provide guarantees regarding the safety of our employees threatens their ability to report news about this conflict without fear of being injured or killed.” Israeli military message.

AFP Global News director Phil Chetwynd said his news organization received the same message.

“We are in an incredibly precarious situation and it is important that the world understands that there is a large team of journalists working in very dangerous conditions,” Chetwynd said.

The Committee to Protect Journalists says at least 27 journalists have been killed since the war began, most of them in Gaza but also in Israel and southern Lebanon. As of October 27, according to the latest update from the Committee to Protect Journalists, 22 Palestinians, four Israelis, and one Lebanese have been killed.

Reporting by Mark Benditch, Editing by Edward Tobin

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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