IDF, police ‘looking into’ case of AP photographer hit by rubber bullet
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IDF, police ‘looking into’ case of AP photographer hit by rubber bullet

Majdi Mohammed says he was shot in West Bank despite obeying soldiers’ order to leave area; FPA calls shooting intentional

The Associated Press Photographer Majdi Mohammed shows a bruise after he was hit with a rubber bullet while covering clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians in the town of al Ram, West Bank, October 9, 2016. (AP Photo)
The Associated Press Photographer Majdi Mohammed shows a bruise after he was hit with a rubber bullet while covering clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians in the town of al Ram, West Bank, October 9, 2016. (AP Photo)

The Israeli police and army said Monday they would look into the case of an Associated Press photographer who was lightly wounded Sunday by a rubber bullet fired by Israeli troops during clashes in the West Bank.

In a statement, the Foreign Press Association said it believed “this shooting was intentional,” in light of aggressive comments made by a Border Police officer before the shooting and the fact that he was clearly identified as a journalist with “Press” written across his bulletproof vest.

Photographer Majdi Mohammed said he was covering an arrest raid in the village of al-Ram when residents began throwing stones at Israeli forces.

The forces, including Israeli troops and paramilitary Border Police, responded with tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

Mohammed said that during the unrest, a member of the Israeli security forces cursed him and ordered him to leave.

Associated Press photographer Majdi Mohammed shows a bruise after he was hit with a rubber bullet in the West Bank, October 9, 2016. (AP Photo)
Associated Press photographer Majdi Mohammed shows a bruise after he was hit with a rubber bullet in the West Bank, October 9, 2016. (AP)

He said that as he turned around to leave, he was shot from close range in the back of his shoulder, an area that was not covered by his protective vest.

Mohammed said the bullet did not break any bones, but the impact left a bloody welt on his shoulder.

Military spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner and Micky Rosenfeld of the police both said the incident would be investigated.

The Foreign Press Association decried the shooting as the “latest in a string of attacks by Israeli border police on journalists,” in a statement published Monday.

“Yet our repeated calls for Israel to uphold its commitment to honor press freedom and safety have repeatedly fallen on deaf ears. Only when Israel begins to hold its security forces accountable for abusing journalists will this deplorable behavior change,” the group said.

In May 2015 photographer Nidal Shtayyeh, who works for Chinese news agency Xinhua, was wounded while covering a small demonstration at Hawara checkpoint near the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

As he was covering the rally, Shtayyeh was hit in the face by a rubber bullet which entered his eye, causing serious damage, he told AFP.

The army said at the time at least 100 Palestinians had been throwing stones and petrol bombs, and that troops had responded with “riot dispersal means.”

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