Journalist killed, 6 others wounded by Israeli shelling at Lebanon border

Reuters videographer Issam Abdallah dead; IDF says it is ‘very sorry’ for death but does not accept responsibility

Smoke billows after an apparent Israeli strike on the village of Alma al-Shaab on October 13, 2023 (Christina ASSI / AFP)
Smoke billows after an apparent Israeli strike on the village of Alma al-Shaab on October 13, 2023 (Christina ASSI / AFP)

ALMA Al-SHAAB, Lebanon — An Israeli shell landed in a gathering of international journalists covering clashes on the border in south Lebanon on Friday, killing a Reuters videographer and injuring six other journalists.

An Associated Press photographer at the scene saw the body of Reuters videographer Issam Abdallah and the six who were wounded, some of whom were rushed to hospitals in ambulances. Images from the scene showed a charred car.

Israel has been carrying out sporadic shelling in the Lebanon border region in response to rockets, gunfire, drones and an explosion that damaged the security barrier.

The Israel Defense Forces said it has been targeting Hezbollah sites and responding to sources of gunfire.

The military told reporters it was “very sorry” for the journalist’s death, but did not accept responsiblity.

“We are deeply saddened to tell you that our videographer, Issam Abdallah, has been killed,” the Reuters news agency said in a statement. The agency added that Abdallah was part of a Reuters crew in southern Lebanon that was providing a live signal.

Reuters said that two of its journalists, Thaer Al-Sudani and Maher Nazeh, were wounded in the shelling in the border area.

Qatar’s Al-Jazeera TV, said two of its employees, Elie Brakhya and reporter Carmen Joukhadar, also were among the wounded.

France’s international news agency, Agence France-Presse, said two of its journalists also were among the wounded, but the agency did not release their names.

Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati in a statement condemned Israel’s shelling that struck the journalists “during its aggression on southern Lebanon.”

At the United Nations, Secretary-General António Guterres expressed condolences to the family of the killed journalist. “So many journalists are paying with their lives to bring truth to everybody,” he said.

UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric earlier said that the world body hopes for an investigation into what happened. “Journalists need to be protected and allowed to do their work,” he said.

Later Friday, dozens of Lebanon-based journalists and rights activists gathered outside the National Museum in Beirut to protest Abdallah’s death and the injury of the journalists.

“We are urgently seeking more information, working with authorities in the region, and supporting Issam’s family and colleagues,” Reuters said. “Our deepest condolences go out to those affected, and our thoughts are with their families at this terrible time.”

The shelling occurred during an exchange of fire along the Lebanon-Israel border between Israeli troops and members of Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group.

The Lebanon-Israel border has been witnessing sporadic acts of violence since Saturday’s devastating assault by the Palestinian terror group Hamas on civilians and troops in southern Israel.

Journalists from around the world have been coming to Lebanon out of concern that war might break out between Hezbollah and Israel.

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