6 June 2024

London, United Kingdom – Reuters has called on Israel to conduct a quick and comprehensive investigation into cross-border fire that killed one of its journalists and wounded other reporters in Lebanon last week.

Video journalist Issam Abdallah died and six other journalists were injured — including two from AFP — in firing near the village of Alma al-Shaab in southern Lebanon on Friday.

The journalists believe they were hit by fire coming from the Israeli side of the border.

“I am reiterating my call to the Israeli authorities, who have said they are investigating, to conduct a swift, thorough and transparent probe into what happened,” Reuters Editor-in-Chief Alessandra Galloni said in a video posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Monday.

“By transparent, I mean an investigation with clear evidence and explanation, and I also reiterate my call to the Israeli Defense Forces for clarity regarding the terms of engagement in this conflict,” she added.

The Israeli-Lebanese border has been rocked by violence since Palestinian Islamist group Hamas killed over 1,400 people in its October 7 attack on Israel, sparking retaliatory bombing of Gaza that has killed over 2,750 people there.

Clashes have left more than 10 people dead on the Lebanese side, including the Reuters journalist and two civilians. On the Israeli side, at least two people have been killed.

Israel’s military announced on Saturday that it was “looking into” the circumstances of the fatal strike that killed Abdallah, without taking responsibility.

The Lebanese army said in a statement his death was caused by a rocket shell fired by Israel. Lebanon’s foreign ministry also blamed Israel, labelling the strike a “deliberate killing”.

“I also ask Lebanon, which has said that it has gathered evidence on the attack, and any other authority with information to provide it,” said Galloni.

“I urge all parties in this conflict to respect and work with all media to ensure the safety of journalists reporting in the region,” she added.

Galloni paid tribute to Abdallah, calling him an “experienced, talented and passionate journalist” who was “just doing his job” when he was killed.

AFP has urged both Israeli and Lebanese authorities to conduct “an in-depth investigation and provide well-documented, clear, and transparent answers” to the strike.

Agence France Presse