Israeli troops have deliberately targeted journalists during the escalating conflict between Hamas and Israel, a press freedom group said.
Journalists from all sides have increasingly found themselves caught in the crosshairs of Israeli gunfire as protests and riots escalate, according to France-based Reporters Without Borders.
On July 5, reporters from Palestine Today TV were fired on by the Israeli army while broadcasting live in the East Jerusalem neighborhood AL-Tur. Three of the journalists were injured.
Two Israeli journalists from Activestills, a photojournalism site, were wounded July 2 while reporting on riots in Shuafat, another neighborhood of East Jerusalem, according to +972 Magazine. Israeli police began firing at the gathering crowd of rock-throwing Palestinian youths. The police hit one journalist, Tali Mayer, in the face, and another journalist, Oren Ziv, in the arm. The police are believed to have used 40mm sponge-tipped bullets.
Violence between Israel and Hamas has escalated following the July 2 kidnapping and killing of a 16-year-old Palestinian boy—an apparent retaliation killing for the slaying of three Israeli teenagers in June. Israel began a series of airstrikes in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip July 7. Since then it has struck more than 500 targets and killed 46 people, according to CNN. Meanwhile Hamas has launched dozens of missiles into Israel, targeting population centers including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Ayman Mohyeldin, NBC News correspondent, and his three-member team were also caught in clashes in East Jerusalem on July 2. The police fired rubber bullets and threw stun grenades at the news team, despite all four were wearing protective gear clearly labeled ‘Press.’ An NBC cameraman sustained bruising after being hit by shrapnel, NBC reported.
Mohyeldin posted a video of the attack to Instagram. In the video, the team can be heard shouting in English, Arabic, and Hebrew that they were journalists.
“Despite us yelling that we were journalists, they still fired at us and threatened to shoot us if we didn’t leave,” Mohyeldin said in the video’s caption.
Mohyeldin posted another video taken the same day, which shows another team of journalists, trapped between the protests and a car, being fired upon by Israeli police. The journalists are also wearing gear clearly labeled ‘Press.’