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Israeli War Crimes Extend to Journalists by Bombing Gaza Media Center

November 18, 2012

Israel 'trying to silence' the press in Gaza Published today

18/11/2012 19:48

Smoke and debris are seen after an Israeli airstrike on the office of Al-Aqsa TV in a building that also houses other media in Gaza City Nov. 18, 2012. (Reuters/Majdi Fathi, File)

Cameraman Khader Zahar, who lost his leg in airstrike Saturday (image by Belalmd12) Cameraman Khader Zahar, who lost his leg in airstrike Saturday (image by Belalmd12)

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) --

A Palestinian journalists rights group accused Israel on Sunday of targeting journalists in the Gaza Strip, after Israeli warplanes bombed two media buildings.

Mada says Israel is "trying to silence the press in Gaza and its crimes against journalists must not go unpunished."

In a statement, the group said it "strongly condemns the renewed Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip and the direct targeting of a number of journalists and media institutions."

Israeli airstrikes hit two media headquarters in Gaza City, including the building that houses Ma'an's Gaza office, early Sunday.

At least six journalists were hurt in the first strike, and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights said 10 journalists and media professionals were hurt in the bombings.

Israel's army says the buildings are part of "Hamas' operational communications."

Mada, which is based in Ramallah, called for protecting journalists and to prosecute the perpetrators of such crimes against press and freedom of expression.

"The evasion from punishment of the Israeli occupation forces ... especially with regard to its crimes against the four journalists killed during the aggression on Gaza in 2009, enabled such occupation forces to commit further crimes against journalists and the media," Mada said.

An Israeli army statement said one building was targeted because it is "an infrastructure of Hamas' operational communications, located inside a civilian building."

"As a result, and in order to minimize the damage to non involved persons, the (army) only targeted the communication devices which were located on the roof of the building, and not the operations room of Hamas that is located on one of the floors," the statement said.

Journalists react after Sunday's attack on a media office (Reuters)
Imad Ifranji, director of Al-Quds TV in Gaza, told Mada that Israel fired three missiles at the TV editing and filming department and at the 11th floor of the al-Shawa building.

Ifranji added that "shelling caused injury to all in the office of photographers and assistants and a driver, in addition to significant damage in the section, in addition to damages in the ambulance that rushed to the place for the transfer of injuries, and damage to the TV car."

Saed Radwan, program director at Hamas-affiliated al-Aqsa TV, reported that Israeli warplanes targeted the broadcasting section on the 15th floor of the Shorouq tower, in the al-Rimal area of Gaza City at 6:30 a.m.

Severe damage was caused and most of the equipment and studios were destroyed and "one rocket penetrated the office of Palestine Media Production actually on the 14th floor, causing damage".

The Foreign Press Association in Israel said it was concerned by the attacks.

The coalition of foreign journalists noted that countries with media groups in the targeted buildings are members of the UN Security Council, which has adopted resolution 1738 condemning attacks against journalists in conflict situations.

The statement quoted the resolution, saying "journalists, media professionals and associated personnel engaged in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict shall be considered civilians, to be respected and protected as such."

Meanwhile the families and relatives of journalists have also come under attack in the days since Israel launched an assault on Gaza that has killed over 50 people since Wednesday.

On Friday forces targeted the house of European Agency photographer Ali Ibrahim, resulting in moderate injuries to his elderly father, his sister, and her daughter.

On the same day, Mada says, Israeli forces targeted the headquarters of Free Media in the Sheikh Radwan area of the Gaza Strip, almost completely destroying it.

In a case that received widespread coverage Wednesday, a missile killed Omar Mashharawi, the 11-month-old son of BBC Arabic employee Jihad Mashharawi, when his home came under fire.

Saturday Five Palestinians Killed In Gaza By Israeli Shells

Sunday November 18, 2012 03:46 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC News

Death Toll 46 Since Wednesday

According to medical sources, five people were killed, including a woman killed in her home, and at least 19 injured in over a dozen separate Israeli airstrikes on populated areas in Gaza on Saturday evening.

In southern Gaza, a 30 year old woman identified as Samhar Qidih was killed during an Israeli aerial bombardment of her home.

Also in southern Gaza on Saturday evening, three separate Israeli airstrikes took place in Rafah, two of which resulted in civilian casualties.

One of these airstrikes was a targeted assassination attempt of Atiyeh Abu Naqira, one of the leaders of the al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas party.

His home sustained extensive damage, but no one was present in the home when it was bombed.

Another airstrike on a home in Rafah wounded two women and 4 children. And a third airstrike in Rafah killed a Palestinian man who has yet to be identified.

In central Gaza, an Israeli air strike in Jahor al-Dik neighborhood killed two young men, identified as Ali Bin Saed, 25, and Muhammad Aydat, and injured three others. In addition, the Israeli military issued a statement that they targeted the vacant residence of Izzadin Hadad, who they claim was a senior Hamas operative, in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City. Seven Palestinian civilians were wounded in that attack.

Another man, Tamer al-Hamri, died in the hospital late Saturday night from wounds sustained in Saturday morning's bombing of Dir al-Balah in central Gaza.

Furthermore, according to journalist Safa Joudeh, an airstrike targeting a media center in Gaza City caused Cameraman Khader Zahar to lose one of his legs.

The building known as Shwaa and Hosari tower, houses a number of media organizations, including Al Quds radio, which is now off the air.

Other journalists injured in the airstrike have been identified as: Darweesh Bulbul, Ibrahim Lubad, Mohamad Akhras, Hazem Daour and Ashraf Abu Amra.

Reports from journalist Wael Ouda indicate that Saturday night airstrikes hit the Ash-Shaty' refugee camp and Sudanya area, and naval bombardment along the Gaza coast continued from 2 to 3 am.

The ongoing Israeli aerial attacks on the Gaza Strip have resulted in 46 Palestinians killed and more than 455 wounded, including 150 children and 80 women.

Even the killing of known Hamas leaders and fighters is a direct violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which requires a trial for anyone accused of involvement in violent resistance, and condemns extrajudicial assassinations.

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