Blinken says Gaza journalists must be 'protected from harm'

Blinken says Gaza journalists must be 'protected from harm'
In a letter to AFP and other journalists, Blinken said the US will always insist on the need to protect journalists, despite the actions of Israel.
2 min read
13 December, 2023
Blinken claims the US will always protect journalists, yet Israel continues to be accused of targeting media workers [Getty]

The United States will always insist on the need to protect journalists reporting from Gaza during Israel's war on the Palestinian enclave, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a letter to Agence France-Presse on Tuesday.

AFP and other international media groups had written to Blinken in late October urging his help in protecting journalists on the ground in Gaza after several were killed since the outbreak of fighting.

"The United States has and will continue to underscore with Israel, and with all countries, that journalists must be protected from harm," Blinken wrote.

"We stand unequivocally for the protection of journalists during armed conflict and mourn those who have been killed or injured."

Since Israel began its war on Gaza in October, at least 63 journalists and media workers -- 56 Palestinian, four Israeli and three Lebanese -- have been killed, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

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AFP and the other media groups also urged Blinken's help in evacuating their employees from Gaza as Israeli bombards the territory.

Israel imposed a total shutdown of the territory's borders on October 9.

"US citizens' and foreign nationals' continued safe passage out of Gaza remains our top priority, and we are working with Egypt, the UN, and Israel to facilitate their ability to exit Gaza safely," Blinken wrote.

Around 100 French lawmakers mainly from left-wing parties on Monday sent a letter to Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne also calling for all possible efforts to secure the exit of AFP journalists stranded in Gaza.

Gaza's health ministry on Tuesday updated its death toll since the Gaza war began to 18,412 people, mostly women and children.