Israeli forces say it can't guarantee journalists' safety in Gaza

Israeli forces say it can't guarantee journalists' safety in Gaza
Israeli forces tell AFP and Reuters journalists that they cannot guarantee their safety amid ongoing attacks in the besieged Gaza Strip
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Israeli forces have warned journalists in Gaza that they cannot guarantee their safety [Getty]

 Israeli forces has told international news organisations Reuters and Agence France Presse that it cannot guarantee the safety of their journalists operating in the Gaza Strip, that has been under Israeli bombardment and siege for almost three weeks.

The Palestinian enclave has been under bombardment since Hamas's surprise October 7  attacks through the Gaza border into Israel.

Gaza's health ministry says over 7,300 people have been killed by Israeli strikes.

Israeli forces wrote to Reuters and AFP this week after they had sought assurances that their journalists in Gaza would not be targeted by Israeli strikes.

"The IDF is targeting all Hamas military activity throughout Gaza," the letter said, claiming that Hamas deliberately put military operations "in the vicinity of journalists and civilians".

Israeli forces also argued that its high-intensity strikes on Hamas targets could cause damage to surrounding buildings and accused Hamas rockets of being the cause of misfiring and killing people inside Gaza.

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

Hamas did not immediately comment when asked about the allegation that it put military operations near where journalists in Gaza are known to be based.

Reuters could not verify how many other news organizations operating in Gaza had received the same letter from Israeli forces.

Israeli forces did not have any immediate comment.

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Reuters and AFP said they were very concerned about the safety of journalists in Gaza.

“The situation on the ground is dire, and the IDF’s unwillingness to give assurances about the safety of our staff threatens their ability to deliver the news about this conflict without fear of being injured or killed," Reuters said in a statement in response to receiving the Israel military letter.

AFP Global News Director Phil Chetwynd said his news organisation had received the same letter.

"We are in an incredibly precarious position and it's important that the world understands that there is a large team of journalists working in extremely dangerous conditions," Chetwynd said.

The Committee to Protect Journalists says at least 27 journalists have been killed since the war began, mostly in Gaza but also in Israel and southern Lebanon.

As of October 27, according to CPJ's latest update, 22 Palestinians, four Israelis and one Lebanese have been killed.

This is a story from Reuters.