Beirut, May 11, 2018--Motasem Ahmed Dalloul, a reporter for the pro-Palestinian Middle East Monitor and manager of the news website Days of Palestine, was hit by a live round fired by the Israel Defense Forces while covering a protest east of Gaza City today, according to his employer and to reports shared by journalists and news outlets on social media.
Dalloul, who was shot in the abdomen, was taken to Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, local journalist Saud Abu Ramadan told the Committee to Protect Journalists. Posts on social media said that he sustained a lung injury as a result of the bullet.
"Israel's use of force, including live fire, has already taken a severe toll on Palestinian journalists," CPJ's Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said from Washington, D.C. "Israeli authorities must investigate the shooting of Dalloul and take all measures to ensure that the media can safely cover protests."
Dalloul was covering the seventh consecutive week of mass protests in the Gaza Strip, as thousands of Palestinians joined demonstrations over Israel's refusal to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their pre-1948 homes, news reports said. The Israel Defense Forces used tear gas and fired rubber-tipped bullets and live rounds to disperse demonstrators, according to videos, pictures, and reports shared by news outlets on social media; the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate; and a local reporter--Saud Abu Ramadan--with whom CPJ spoke.
Since the protests began on March 30, 2018, CPJ has documented at least 15 journalists hit by live rounds fired by Israel Defense Forces, two of whom--Yaser Murtaja and Ahmed Abu Hussein--later died from their injuries.
At least four other journalists were injured while covering the protests today:
- Mohammad al-Thalatini, a photographer for the German news agency DPA (Deutsche Presse-Agentur), was hit by a tear gas canister in his right leg while covering the protests east of the southern Gazan city of Khan Younis, according to news reports on social media and the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate. Al-Thalathini was taken for treatment to a nearby medical tent.
- Freelance photographer Mahmoud Bassam was hit by a tear gas canister in his left leg while covering protests east of Khan Younis, according to pictures and news reports posted on social media and local journalist Saud Abu Ramadan. Basaam received treatment on site.
- Freelance photographer Yasser Qudeih was hit by a tear gas canister in his right leg while covering protests east of Khan Younis, according to videos and news reports posted on social media and local journalist Ramadan. He was taken by ambulance to a nearby medical tent for treatment.
- Freelance photographer Deyaa Abu Aoun was hit by shrapnel in his left knee and left arm while covering protests in the northern Gaza strip, according to his own Facebook posts and those of news outlets.
The Israel Defense Forces did not immediately reply to CPJ's email requesting comment.