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AP, DPA, Reuters journalists targeted by Israeli forces

Ma’an – 17/07/2010

Hebron: Israeli forces fired percussion grenades directly at two journalists on Saturday, hitting them in the face and back during a Beit Ummar protest against continued land confiscations by a nearby Israeli settlement.

A third photojournalist was physically assaulted by armed Israeli personnel, and was taken to hospital for treatment by Red Crescent Paramedics.

Medics said Reuters photojournalist Abed Khweisa was treated checked for facial bone fractures after a sound bomb hit him in the cheek, while DPA photographer Abdul-Hafidh Hashlamoun was treated for bruises on his back after being struck by a second canister shot from a high-velocity launcher.

Hazim Badr, medics said, was beaten by soldiers and treated for bruises. All three said they were covering the protest when they were targeted.

One protester was reported injured, identified as 43-year-old Ahmad Khalil Abu Hashim, secretary-general of the local anti-land confiscation committee.

An Israeli military spokesman said soldiers were dispatched to the area when the protesters approached the perimeter fence surrounding the illegal Karmi Tzur settlement, and “responded with riot dispersal means when protesters began hurling rocks” at the soldiers.

Addressing a question about the targeting of members of the press, the spokesman said “anyone who chooses to be present at violent riots … does so at their own risk.”

In a swiftly-issued condemnation of the assault, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate released a statement saying (PJS) a fourth journalist, Eyad Hamad with the AP, was detained “for few hours,” and said soldiers had damaged his camera.

The military spokesman confirmed that one “civilian who stood with the rioters” was taken in for questioning and released.

The society said it “condemns this attack and urges local, regional and international advocates of press freedom and human rights to pressure Israel to stop its attacks on Palestinian journalists.”

July 17, 2010 - Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance

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