German state broadcaster urges Israel to let 2 workers leave Gaza
German state broadcaster ARD on Friday said Israel was blocking two of its long-term Palestinian workers from leaving Gaza, where they fear for their lives, citing security concerns the broadcaster said did not make sense.
Israel's war on Gaza has killed more than 26,000 Palestinians, according to local health authorities, with thousands more feared buried under rubble and most of the 2.3 million residents displaced, facing acute shortages of food, water and medicine.
The ARD said it had been pushing for two of its workers to be able to leave Gaza for more than two months, with support from the German government. Israel has so far refused, citing security concerns.
The foreign ministry and prime minister's office did not immediately respond to request for comment.
"This does not make sense because they would not even be stepping onto Israeli soil," said ARD senior editor Christian Nitsche. "These colleagues are no security risk, and we call therefore on the Israeli authorities, on the government, to let our colleagues leave".
The German foreign ministry said in a post on social media platform X, formerly Twitter, that it shared the ARD's concerns about their local staff and would continue to push for them to be able to leave.
One of the two ARD workers, Mohammed Abusaif, had already been evacuated eight times since the beginning of the Israeli offensive and was now living in a tent in the southern town of Rafah, the broadcaster said.
He was worried both about the Israeli strikes and about reprisals from Hamas.
"Ultimately he has been working for more than two years for the ARD, a German outlet - and Germany has positioned itself clearly on the side of Israel in this war," the broadcaster wrote.
At least 83 journalists and media workers have been killed during Israel's assault on Gaza, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, in what it says has proven to be the deadliest conflict for reporters since the CPJ started gathering data in 1992.