Two Palestinian journalists injured

New York, March 6, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is concerned about two Palestinian journalists injured in Gaza this morning during an Israeli army raid into the Jabalya refugee camp.

Reuters Jerusalem bureau chief Tim Heritage told CPJ that cameraman Shams Odeh and photographer Ahmad Jadallah were both injured by shrapnel caused by an explosion in the camp.

The events surrounding the explosion, which killed eight Palestinians, are in dispute. According to press reports citing Palestinian witnesses, Israeli troops were leaving the camp at the end of the raid when two rounds were fired from an Israeli tank. The first round set a building on fire, and crowds of people poured into the streets to watch firefighters douse the blaze. The journalists, who were among the people in the street, were covering the aftermath of the raid. Witnesses claim that the second round was fired at the group who had gathered, injuring the two journalists. The Israeli army said that soldiers had seen someone preparing to launch a rocket at the tank, and that they fired in self-defense.

Both of Jadallah’s legs were broken, and one artery in his leg was severed after being hit by shrapnel. He underwent surgery in a Gaza hospital before being moved to an Israeli hospital in Jerusalem, where he is recovering. Odeh suffered moderate injuries to his foot after being hit by shrapnel. He underwent surgery in Gaza.