'War crime': Amnesty International points to 'deliberate' Israeli attack on journalists in south Lebanon on October 13th

Lebanon News
2023-12-07 | 05:26
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'War crime': Amnesty International points to 'deliberate' Israeli attack on journalists in south Lebanon on October 13th
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'War crime': Amnesty International points to 'deliberate' Israeli attack on journalists in south Lebanon on October 13th

In a Thursday report, Amnesty International affirmed that the Israeli strikes in southern Lebanon on October 13, which led to the death of Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah and injured six others, "were likely a direct attack on civilians that must be investigated as a war crime."

In the report, the organization said that it verified more than 100 videos and photographs, analyzed weapons fragments, and interviewed nine witnesses.

It added that the findings indicate that the group was visible as journalists, as they were on a reporting trip to southern Lebanon and were wearing helmets and vests marked "press," and that the Israeli army knew or "should have known" that they were civilians "yet attacked them anyway in two separate strikes 37 seconds apart."

"Our investigation into the incident uncovers chilling evidence pointing to an attack on a group of international journalists who were carrying out their work by reporting on hostilities. Direct attacks on civilians and indiscriminate attacks are absolutely prohibited by international humanitarian law and can amount to war crimes," said Aya Majzoub, Amnesty International's Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

"Those responsible for Issam Abdallah's unlawful killing and the injuring of six other journalists must be held accountable. No journalist should ever be targeted or killed simply for carrying out their work. Israel must not be allowed to kill and attack journalists with impunity. There must be an independent and impartial investigation into this deadly attack," Majzoub added.

The report revealed that from around 5:00 pm on October 13, the group was standing in the exact open location near Alma al-Chaab for nearly an hour before the attack, "in full view of Israeli forces," and one of the cars had "TV" on its hood. 

"An Israeli Apache helicopter, and likely an Israeli drone, hovered above them for more than 40 minutes before the first strike, as can be seen or heard in the journalists' footage. Israeli forces had observation towers, ground elements, and air assets deployed to closely monitor the border," it confirmed.

It said that this "should have provided sufficient information to Israeli forces that these were journalists and civilians and not a military target."

Additionally, Amnesty International did not find any sign that there were any fighters or military objectives at the strikes' site, which raises concerns that the strikes "were likely direct attacks on civilians."

Established on a review of videos and photos from the scene, Amnesty International specified that the first strike, which led to the death of Issam Abdallah and the injury of AFP videographer and photographer Christina Assi, was a 120mm tank round fired from the hills between al-Nawaqir and Jordeikh in Israel. 

"Just 37 seconds later, the group was struck again, this time by a different weapon, likely a small guided missile, causing an Al Jazeera crew car to go up in flames."

"Under international humanitarian law, parties to a conflict have a clear obligation to protect civilians – including journalists – and must at all times distinguish between civilians and civilian objects on one hand and fighters and military objectives on the other. During an armed conflict, the role of journalists is particularly important to ensure scrutiny over the conduct of hostilities and highlight possible violations," said Aya Majzoub.

Since the start of the conflict in southern Lebanon, three Lebanese journalists, including two journalists from Al Mayadeen, reporter Farah Omar, and cameraman Rabih Maamari, and several civilians were killed, and some were injured. 
 
You can check the full Amnesty International report here.
 

Lebanon News

Lebanon

South

Israel

Border

War Crime

Amnesty International

Attack

Journalist

Strikes

Investigation

Violation

Issam Abdallah

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