Israeli Army Fire Kills Palestinian Freelancer

Tuesday, July 16, 2002
July 16 - Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) mourns the loss of a colleague to Israeli army fire, the second such killing in five months, and calls on the Government of Israel to launch a full inquiry into the incident. According to CJFE information, Palestinian freelance photographer Imad Abu Zahra travelled to the centre of Jenin on July 11 to take pictures of an Israel Defence Forces (IDF) armored personnel carrier that had slammed into a utility pole. While Zahra and Said Dahla, a photographer for the official Palestinian news agency WAFA, were taking photos, they were fired upon and injured by two Israeli tanks about 40 meters away. Both photographers were wearing clothing that clearly identified them as journalists. Zahra and Dahla, both hit by shrapnel, sought cover in a nearby building but the IDF would not allow an ambulance through to pick them up. Zahra was eventually helped into a taxi and taken to hospital, where he died of blood loss on July 12. A spokesman for the IDF said a mob attacked the personnel carrier with stones and Molotov cocktails after it hit the pole and that some in the crowd fired at the tanks. He said the tank soldiers returned fire. But others in Jenin said the tanks did not come under attack until after the journalists had been injured. "The Israeli government must launch a full inquiry into this killing," CJFE Executive Director Joel Ruimy said. "The government must demand tighter discipline from the IDF, which has already been involved in other such incidents." Italian freelance photographer Raffaele Ciriello was shot to death by IDF soldiers in Ramallah on March 13. Reporters Without Borders says 40 journalists have been injured by Israeli army fire since September 2000. CJFE is an association of journalists, writers, editors, publishers, producers and others who work to promote and defend free expression in Canada and around the world. For more information, please contact Joel Ruimy, tel (416) 515-9622, fax (416) 515-7879, email: cjfe@cjfe.org, Web: www.cjfe.org.

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