21 May, 2024
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IDF admits it carried out strike that killed Al Jazeera journalists, says “terrorist” was target


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The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) admitted on Monday it carried out an airstrike that killed two journalists working for Al Jazeera in Gaza on Sunday, saying forces were targeting a terrorist.

“An IDF aircraft identified and struck a terrorist who operated an aircraft that posed a threat to IDF troops,” the military told CNN.
“We are aware of the reports that during the strike, two other suspects who were in the same vehicle as the terrorist were also hit.”

One of the people killed in the strike was a journalist and drone operator who was working for Al Jazeera, the network’s Jerusalem and Ramallah bureau chief told CNN.

“Mustafa Thuraya was a drone operator used by Al Jazeera since the beginning of the war, a freelancer. He is known as a drone operator journalist in Gaza,” Waleed al-Omari said.

He was one of several journalists, including photojournalist Hamza Al-Dahdouh, who had gone to northern Rafah “to cover the aftermath of an Israeli strike on the Abu Al-Naja family house which killed dozens,” al-Omari said.

As they were returning to Khan Younis, “drone strikes targeted two cars — the first vehicle which had Hamza and Mustafa and a driver, and a second car that had the reporter of Palestine Today and a driver.”

Thuraya and Al-Dahdouh were killed and their driver was critically injured, and both occupants of the other car were killed, al-Omari said.

There is no indication Thuraya was operating a drone at the time of the strike, when the journalists were returning from filming.

Accusations of “systematically targeting” journalists: Pressed by CNN as to whether they knew there was a journalist drone operator in one of the cars, the IDF said: “For now we can’t elaborate. We will let you know when we have more information.”

Al-Dahdouh, the photojournalist, was the son of Al Jazeera Gaza bureau chief Wael Al-Dahdouh. Two of his other children were killed along with his wife and a grandchild in an Israeli airstrike in October.

Al Jazeera in a statement Sunday accused Israel of “systematically targeting” Al-Dahdouh, adding: “Al Jazeera condemns, in the strongest terms, the ongoing crimes committed by Israeli occupation forces against journalists and media professionals in Gaza.”

“This alarming trend requires immediate attention and action from the international community. We urge the International Criminal Court, the governments and human rights organizations, and the United Nations to hold Israel accountable for its heinous crimes and demand an end to the targeting and killing of journalists.”

Israel says categorically that it does not target journalists, but the Committee to Protect Journalists said 77 journalists and media workers were killed in Gaza between October 7 and December 31. Of those 70 were Palestinians, four Israeli and three Lebanese.

The post IDF admits it carried out strike that killed Al Jazeera journalists, says “terrorist” was target appeared first on Egypt Independent.