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lord patch
05-08-2008, 01:28 PM
World News
Thousands mourn cameraman slain by Israeli missile
By Mohammed Omer
Updated May 5, 2008, 11:10 pm




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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (IPS/GIN) - Fadel Shana, a cameraman for the Reuters news agency, was killed in mid-April while filming Israeli tanks as they fired missiles in Gaza.

It was the 23-year-old cameraman’s job to go to the scene of Israeli bombings. Mr. Shana had also been injured in August 2006 in the north of the Gaza Strip in an Israeli missile attack. This time, though, he wasn’t lucky enough to survive.

A barrage of metal shrapnel pierced his body as a tank missile landed close to him.

After the first missile that killed Mr. Fadel, a second tank missile directly hit the Reuters vehicle in which Mr. Fadel had been traveling, killing two children and another civilian close by. The missile injured 12 others, including five children. Wafa Abu Mezyed, 25, a Reuters sound man, was injured.

The news agency’s silver-colored Mitsubishi SUV carried “TV” and “Press” stickers in English and Arabic prominently across its doors, hood, and roof, and yet it was still attacked more than once. Agency-France Press photographer Mohammed Abed, who was driving behind Mr. Fadel, said the vehicle burst into flames after the second missile struck it. “I saw the body and head of my friend and colleague torn to pieces,” he said, visibly shattered by the loss.

Fadel Shana was among many journalists and photographers who had come to film the children and civilians injured by earlier Israeli air strikes and tank shelling. At least 20 Palestinians have been killed since dawn on April 16, including Mr. Fadel and eight children.

Mr. Abu Mezyed said that after filming some children, Mr. Fadel turned to film Israeli tanks. That was when a tank immediately fired a missile in his direction, killing him.

Journalists have long been targeted in the region. Since September 2000, Israeli forces have killed nine journalists and have wounded at least 170 others.

Reuters has 70 journalists and other members of the media in Palestinian and Israeli areas, 15 of them in Gaza. Last October, a Reuters photographer was injured by Israeli occupation forces close to the Erez crossing.

The killing of Fadel Shana has raised new concerns among Gaza’s journalists. The Fatah party, which runs the administration in the West Bank, has called the killing of journalists “assassinating the truth.” Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum said “the Israeli occupation targets journalists in order to kill the truth.”

The Palestinian Journalists Union announced a strike April 17 in protest against the killing of journalists, and Reuters editor-in-chief David Schlesinger called for an investigation. “This tragic incident shows the risks journalists take every day to report the news,” he said in a comment posted on the agency web site. “All governments and organizations have a responsibility to take the utmost care to protect professionals trying to do their jobs.”

“Our thoughts are with his family,” the statement continued. “We request an immediate investigation into the incident by the Israeli defense forces.”

The group Reporters Without Borders also called on Israeli authorities “to quickly investigate the circumstances that led to the Reuters cameraman’s death.”

Israel apologized for the killing of Fadel Shana and pledged to investigate the circumstances of his killing.

Thousands attended the April 18 funeral of Fadel Shana. With his body was carried another stretcher bearing his camera.

The violence has continued to occur. The attacks on Juhor al-Dik village, east of Bureij refugee camp have injured 35 people, at least eight of them critically. The injured include 17 children and a woman, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.

There is not enough fuel for ambulances to get to the injured, so some victims have been brought to the hospital on donkey carts.

The latest Israeli assault follows what the Ezz al-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, an armed wing of Hamas, called a “sophisticated ambush” in which three Israeli soldiers were killed.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said, “We are aware of the suffering of the people of Gaza, but in our eyes, the suffering of the residents of communities that border on that area, and those of the Israeli army count more.”



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