Tuesday, November 20, 2012

2 journalists killed in Israeli airstrike on Gaza

 Maan News Agency

Published today (updated) 20/11/2012 19:30
Palestinians gather around a destroyed car hit by an Israeli airstrike in
Gaza City Nov., 20, 2012. (Reuters/Ali Hassan)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Two Palestinian journalists were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Gaza City Tuesday evening, after media buildings were hit by Israeli warplanes two days in a row.

Mahmoud al-Koumi and Husam Salameh, both working for al-Aqsa TV, were killed in the airstrike on a car near al-Wihda towers in the city.

Two others were injured in the strike, medics said.

The bombing came as a Hamas official said an agreement to cease hostilities would come into effect at midnight.

Twenty-one Palestinians, including two children, were killed on Tuesday, the seventh day of Israel's bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

Since Israel's assassination of a Hamas commander on Wednesday, 138 Palestinians have been killed, and over 900 injured. Three Israelis died in a rocket attack last Thursday.

Israeli jets continued to pound the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, as rockets flew into southern Israel, wounding five soldiers. Hamas' military wing claimed responsibility for firing rockets at Jerusalem, and two missiles were witnessed landing nearby in the West Bank.

Media attacks

Israel drew widespread local and international condemnation for its bombing media complexes in Gaza City.

On Sunday morning, Israel bombed two media buildings -- including one which houses Ma'an's Gaza office -- injuring six journalists.

On Monday, Israeli warplanes again fired missiles at one of the same media offices in Gaza City, injuring two journalists – Al Arabiya cameraman Ahmed al-Ridi and Ahmed al-Achkar of Houna Al-Quds TV.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said the latest target was Ramez Harb, head of media for the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, who was killed in the airstrike.

Regev maintained that the army could not treat Al-Aqsa TV employees as “legitimate journalists” like BBC or Al Jazeera employees.

New York Times correspondent Jodi Rudoren ‏wrote on Twitter that al-Koumi and Salameh had been traveling in the car behind a Times fixer in a marked vehicle.

Reporters Without Borders earlier condemned Israel's attacks on the news media and dismissed Regev's explanations.

“Attacks on civilian targets are war crimes and serious violations of the Geneva Conventions," secretary Christophe Deloire said. “Those responsible must be identified."