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Lebanese journalist killed in Lebanon-Israel border clashes, another injured

Lebanese journalist killed in Lebanon-Israel border clashes, another injured
Violent manoeuvres: Smoke rises from the southern border village of Adaisseh after an encounter between Israeli and Lebanese troops along the border between Israel and Lebanon, August 3, 2010. Lebanon and Israeli troops fought on the border Tuesday in the most serious clashes since a war four years ago, and Lebanon said at least two of its soldiers were killed in shelling. A Lebanese journalist was killed and another injured.Photo: Associated Press / Daylife

A journalist of Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar newspaper was killed in clashes between the Israeli and Lebanese armies which erupted Tuesday, shattering several years of relative calm on the tense Israel-Lebanon border. The Lebanese news site NOW Lebanon named the journalist as Assaf Abu Rahal, according to the International Press Institute (IPI).

Arab news reports also said Ali Chouayb, a journalist working for the Lebanese TV outlet Al-Manar – closely affiliated with the militant Lebanese Hezbollah group – was injured in the violence.

The Israel Defence Forces and the Lebanese army exchanged shots after an Israeli unit crossed the border into Lebanon in order to tear down a tree and install a surveillance camera. The two journalists, who were hit while trying to cover the Israeli incursion from a Lebanese army roadblock, were clearly identified as media personnel. Rahal was killed on the spot. Three Lebanese soldiers and two Israeli soldiers were also reportedly killed.

IPI Interim Director Alison Bethel McKenzie said: “We are saddened to hear of the death of a journalist in Lebanon during today’s clashes in the south of the country. We would remind all parties that they have a duty to respect the status of civilians, including journalists, as non-combatants. Especially during conflict, journalists have a right to report freely. We call on the concerned parties to investigate the circumstances of the journalist’s death.”

“We are shocked by Rahal's death,” Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) said. “We condemn this Israeli military blunder and we offer our condolences to the families and friends of the victims and to the staff of Al-Akhbar. Rahal is the first Lebanese journalist to be killed in clashes between Lebanon and Israeli since the 33-day war in the summer of 2006, during which one journalist was killed and three others were wounded.”

During a month-long war between Hizbullah and Israel in 2006, Lebanese freelance photographer Layal Najib had been killed by Israeli shelling.

Several journalists were targeted in a wave of assassinations which swept Lebanon after the killing of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in 2005. Al-Nahar publisher Gebran Tueni was killed in a car bomb attack, as was Al-Nahar columnist Samir Kassir. LBC TV anchor May Chidiac was maimed for life by a bomb placed under the seat of her car. She has since been named an IPI World Press Freedom Hero, joining 59 other Heroes due to be honoured at an event during IPI’s World Congress in Vienna and Bratislava in September. The naming of 60 Heroes marks IPI’s 60th year defending press freedom.

An October 2009 IPI press freedom mission to Lebanon found the media there freer than elsewhere in the Middle East, but nonetheless suffused with excessive political influence.

Date posted: August 3, 2010 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 204