Gaza war 'most dangerous ever' for journalists, says rights group
The first 10 weeks of the Gaza war have been the deadliest recorded for journalists, with the most journalists killed in a single year in one location, the U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said on Thursday.
Most of the journalists and media workers killed in the war - 61 out of 68 - were Palestinian. The report said it was "particularly concerned about an apparent pattern of targeting of journalists and their families by the Israeli military."
Three Lebanese journalists, including Reuters visuals journalist Issam Abdallah, were also killed between October 7 and December 20, CPJ data showed.
The group, a nonprofit organisation that promotes press freedom worldwide, said it was further investigating the circumstances of all journalist deaths. It said such efforts in Gaza were hampered by widespread destruction and by the killing of journalists' family members, who typically serve as sources for investigators looking into how the journalists died.
Reporting in Gaza has been severely restricted under intense Israeli bombardment, with repeated communications blackouts and a lack of food, fuel and housing, said CPJ, adding that foreign journalists have not been able to independently access the strip for most of the war.
"The Israel-Gaza war is the most dangerous situation for journalists we have ever seen, and these figures show that clearly," said Sherif Mansour, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator.
"The Israeli army has killed more journalists in 10 weeks than any other army or entity has in any single year. And with every journalist killed, the war becomes harder to document and to understand."
A May report by CPJ found that Israeli soldiers had killed at least 20 journalists in the last 22 years and none had ever been charged or held accountable.
Earlier this month, a Reuters investigation found an Israeli tank crew killed Abdallah and wounded six reporters in Lebanon on October 13 by firing two shells in quick succession from Israel while the journalists were filming cross-border shelling.
At least 1,200 people were killed in Israel and over 200 were taken hostage on October 7 after Hamas launched a surprise attack, according to Israeli tallies. The group said this came in response to decades of Israeli blockade and aggression.
Israel's relentless bombardment of Gaza has killed 20,000 Palestinians, with thousands more believed lost under rubble.