Reporters Without Borders accuses Israel of deliberately targeting journalists

Reporters Without Borders accuses Israel of deliberately targeting journalists
Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders has accused Israel of deliberately shooting journalists covering protests on the Gaza border.
2 min read
07 April, 2018
Mourtaja was laid to rest Saturday [Ismail Haniyeh's Press Office/Handout/Getty]

Reporters Without Borders have accused Israel of "deliberate shooting" of journalists in Gaza, after one photographer was killed gunfire another seven reporters were injured at a protest. 

Friday saw nine more Palestinians killed when the Israel army opened fire on protests on the Gaza border. 

Among the dead was Yasser Murtaja, a journalist with the Gaza-based Ain Media agency who died on Saturday from a bullet to the abdomen.

Murtaja was wearing a flak jacket with 'PRESS' clearly printed on the vest.

His brother, who was stood beside him when he was shot, said journalists were deliberately targeted by Israeli troops during the protest.

"The target was very clearly journalists," Motazem said.

This is a view shared by media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

"Palestinian photographer Yasser Mourtaja was wearing a vest marked "Press": he was obviously the victim of an intentional shot," said Christophe Deloire, the Secretary General of RSF, on Twitter.

"RSF condemns absolutely the deliberate shooting of journalists by the Israeli army."

Murtaja was laid to rest on Saturday, with his 'Press' flak jacket buried with him. 

Photos show he was wearing the vest when he was being treated by medics after being shot in the abdomen Friday, dying a day later of his wounds.

He was covering protests to the east of Khan Younis in the south of Gaza when he was hit, according to the health ministry. 

At least 491 people were also wounded by Israeli live fire, the ministry said. Hundreds more have been hurt from rubber bullets and tear gas. No Israelis have been injured. 

Deloire described these actions as a crime against the freedom of media to report.

"We call on the Israeli government to comply with UN Security Council Resolution 2222 on the protection of journalists (adopted in 2015), demand an urgent independent investigation and the sentencing of the perpetrators of this crime against freedom of the press," said Deloire.

A total of 31 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli army since protests broke out 30 March, demanding a right for refugees to return to their homes they fled during the creation of Israel in 1948.

 Agencies contributed to this story.