BEIRUT, December 7. /TASS/. Human Rights Watch (HRW) believes that the shelling by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) troops of two vehicles carrying Lebanese and foreign reporters in October was a deliberate act, Ramzi Kaiss, Lebanon researcher at HRW, said in a statement.
"Two Israeli strikes on a group of Lebanese, American and Iraqi journalists in south Lebanon on October 13, 2023, were apparently deliberate attacks on civilians, which is a war crime," Kaiss said in a statement broadcast by the Al Jadeed TV channel.
According to him, the facts indicate that the Israeli military "knew or should have known that the group of people they were firing on were civilians." "This is not the first time that Israeli forces have apparently deliberately attacked journalists, with deadly and devastating results," Kaiss pointed out. "Those responsible need to be held to account, and it needs to be made clear that journalists and other civilians are not lawful targets," he said.
For her part, Aya Majzoub, deputy regional director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, stressed that the seven journalists who came under Israeli fire in southern Lebanon were wearing helmets and flak jackets with the word "Press" visible on them, and one of the cars had the word "TV" on its hood. She said that an Israeli drone buzzed the film crew for more than 40 minutes before the first strike, which can be seen in the journalists' video footage.
"Israeli forces had observation towers, ground elements and air assets deployed to closely monitor the border. All of this should have provided sufficient information to Israeli forces that these were journalists and civilians and not a military target," Majzoub said.
According to the rights activists' statement, "Israel's key allies - the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Germany - should suspend military assistance and arms sales to Israel, given the risk they will be used for grave abuses."
Incident in southern Lebanon
On October 13, two vehicles carrying journalists, including photographers from several news agencies and a crew from Al Jazeera TV, came under Israeli fire in the Alma el-Chaab area in far southern Lebanon. Lebanese photographer Issam Abdallah, working for Reuters, was killed, and Al Jazeera reporter Carmen Joukhadar and photographer Elie Brakhia were wounded and taken to the hospital.