UN 'very concerned' by high journalist death toll in Gaza
Al Jazeera on Sunday said two of its Palestinian journalists were killed in the southern city of Rafah, in what it claimed was an Israeli "targeted killing".
"Very concerned by high death toll of media workers in Gaza," the UN rights office said on X, formerly Twitter.
"Killings of all journalists, including Hamza Wael Dahdouh and Mustafa Abu Thuria in reported IDF strike on car must be thoroughly, independently investigated to ensure strict compliance with international law, and violations prosecuted," it said.
Dahdouh and Thuria, who also worked as a freelance video journalist for AFP and other news organisations, were killed while they were "on their way to carry out their duty" for Al Jazeera in the Gaza Strip, the network said.
A third freelance journalist, Hazem Rajab, was seriously injured.
Witnesses told AFP that two rockets were fired at the car -- one hit the front of the vehicle and the other hit Dahdouh, who was sitting next to the driver.
Asked about the accusations of a targeted attack on journalists, Florencia Soto Nino, a deputy spokeswoman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York, said: "This is something that at the moment we cannot verify.
"But what we know is that many of them (journalists) have died and we have repeatedly called for their profession to be respected so that they are able to do it freely and in safety."
The Israeli army told AFP that it had "struck a terrorist who operated an aircraft that posed a threat to IDF troops", adding that it was "aware of the reports that during the strike, two other suspects who were in the same vehicle as the terrorist were also hit".
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists says at least 79 journalists and media professionals, the vast majority Palestinian, have been killed since the war began.
Israel's relentless bombardment and a ground invasion of Gaza have killed at least 23,000 people, mostly women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry's latest toll.