November 20, 2012, in Gaza Strip, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory
Al-Kumi, a cameraman for the Hamas-run station, and fellow Al-Aqsa cameraman Hussam Salama were killed when an Israeli missile hit their car in the Al-Shifaa neighborhood of central Gaza, the station and other news organizations reported. Al-Kumi and Salama had completed an assignment at Al-Shifaa Hospital as part of their coverage of Israeli airstrikes in the neighborhood, Mohammed Thouraya, head of Al-Aqsa TV, told The Associated Press. The journalists' car was marked "TV" with neon-colored letters, the station said. Al-Kumi and Salama suffered severe burns and died at Al-Shifaa Hospital, news reports said.
The deaths came during eight days of violence along the Israel-Gaza border that included Palestinian cross-border rocket strikes and Israeli bombardments of Gaza. Two days earlier, Israeli airstrikes targeted two buildings housing several local and international news organizations, injuring at least nine journalists and causing significant damage.
The IDF did not respond to multiple written and phone requests from CPJ seeking substantiation for its accusations. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also did not respond to a December 2 letter from CPJ that requested supporting evidence for the IDF's claims. Mark Regev, spokesman for the prime minister, told Agence-France Presse that Netanyahu would respond to CPJ through the Israeli Embassy in Washington. As of late December 2012, however, the embassy had not responded.
In a report issued on December 20, Human Rights Watch said it found no evidence to show that Salama and al-Kumi had been Hamas operatives or had engaged in any military activity. The group said the killings of the two cameramen and the attacks on the Gaza media centers were violations of the laws of war.
Job: Camera Operator
Beats Covered: War
Local or Foreign: Local
Type of Death: Crossfire/Combat-Related
Suspected Source of Fire: Military Officials
- Israel must explain targeting of journalists in Gaza, December 2, 2012
- Three journalists killed in airstrikes in Gaza, November 20, 2012