UN asked to investigate journalists’ deaths in Lebanon

Reuters videographer Issam Abdallah was killed in Lebanon by an Israeli strike on 13 October 2023.

Over 100 individuals and groups have called for a United Nations investigation into deadly attacks by Israel on journalists in Lebanon on February 28, AFP reported. 

In addition to its brutal war on Gaza, Israeli forces have been clashing with Iran-backed group Hezbollah at the southern border and have started to coordinate attacks further inside Lebanon. 

Around 280 people have been killed in the skirmishes, 44 of whom were civilians, and it is without doubt that fear is in the air regarding the possibility of a full-blown war akin to 2006 between Hezbollah and its belligerent neighbours as well as the Israel-Gaza conflict expanding on a regional scale. 

Calls for a UN investigation comes after it was found that three journalists were killed late last year in Lebanon. 

The concern was raised to the world body’s rights chief Volker Turk and accused the IDF of “deliberate targeting of journalists and media workers in Lebanon.” 

The AFP found that an Israeli assault on October 13 last year killed Reuters reporter Issam Abdallah as well as seriously injuring AFP photographer Christina Assi and video journalist Dylan Collins. 

READ: Rights group says Gaza most dangerous war ever for journalists

One month later (on November 21), Israeli strikes killed journalists Farah Omar and Rabih Maamari from Al Mayadeen, a prominent Iranian news outlet, in southern Lebanon. 

The letter to Mr Turk was signed by local and international human rights organisations, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Lebanese politicians as well as the AFP and Al Jazeera. 

The letter noted that, “an investigation to establish the facts and circumstances” around the attacks was needed and the findings needed to be published “with a view to holding those responsible accountable.” 

Since the start of Israel’s attacks on Lebanon and Gaza, rights groups have raised concerns about the blatant targeting of civilians as well as journalists. 

The Committee to Protect Journalists said that as of February 29, 94 journalists had been killed including 16 injured, 4 were reported missing and 25 were arrested in Gaza since October 7. 

Over 30,000 civilians have been murdered and Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to continue Israel’s brutal massacre in the enclave. 

In a recent column in The Guardian, journalist and left-wing activist noted that, “Gaza has been so comprehensively destroyed that it is a different colour and texture even seen from space, and starving dogs have been reported eating decomposing human remains.” 

AFP/ Committee to Protect Journalists 

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