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The sun sets over the Gaza Strip on May 14, 2018. Seven Palestinian journalists were injured by gunfire in Gaza protests on May 14, according to reports. (Reuters/Amir Cohen)

Seven Palestinian journalists injured by gunfire in Gaza protests

May 14, 2018 4:33 PM ET

Beirut, May 14, 2018--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the use of gunfire by Israeli forces against journalists covering protests today in the Gaza Strip. At least seven Palestinian journalists have been injured by Israeli gunfire while covering today's demonstrations, according to the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), reports shared on social media by media outlets and journalists, and CPJ interviews with local journalists Saud Abu Ramadan and Moneeb Saada.

Thousands of Palestinians have been protesting for seven consecutive weeks over Israel's refusal to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their pre-1948 homes, news reports said. Today marks the 70th anniversary of what Israel claims as its independence day, while tomorrow Palestinians commemorate what they call their 'nakba,' or catastrophe of displacement. Today's protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip also coincided with the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, according to news reports.

"The number of Palestinian journalists injured by gunfire in Gaza has grown by the week," CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said from Washington, D.C. "The fact that Israeli authorities have ignored demands that they halt the use of live fire against journalists reinforces the perception that they do not want the world to see what is happening in Gaza."

The following journalists were injured by gunfire today:

  • Omar Hamdan, a cameraperson for the state-owned Algerian Television, was hit in his left leg by a live round while covering protests east of Gaza City, according to news reports, the PJS, reports shared on social media by news outlets, and local journalists Ramadan and Saada.

  • Mohammed Abu Dahrouj, a cameraperson for the media production company Zain Media, was hit in his right leg by a live round while covering protests east of Gaza City, according to reports shared on social media by news outlets, the PJS, Ramadan, and Saada.

  • Abdullah al-Shorbagi, a reporter for the local Hamas-affiliated Khan Younis Media Network, was hit in the left foot by a live round while covering protests east of Khan Younis, according to his employer, the PJS, reports shared by local journalists and news outlets on social media, Ramadan, and Saada.

  • Farhan Hashem Abu Hadayd, a reporter for the local news website Safad Press, was hit in his left leg by a live round while covering protests east of Rafah, according to news reports, the PJS, reports and pictures shared by media outlets, and local human rights activist Mohammed Abdullah.

  • Yasser Qudeih, a freelance photographer for the Hamas-affiliated daily Palestine, was hit in his abdomen by a live round while covering protests east of Gaza City, according to reports shared on Facebook by news outlets, Ramadan, and Saada. He is currently under observation in the intensive care unit at the European Hospital in Gaza, according to Saada.

  • Nihad Fuad, a reporter for the community radio station Forsan al-Erada, was hit in the head by a live round while covering protests in the southern Gazan city of Khuza'a, east of Khan Younis, according to Facebook reports by media outlets, Ramadan, and Saada. He has been transferred for treatment to the European Hospital in Gaza, according to Saada.

  • Wael Dahdouh, a reporter for the Qatari broadcaster Al-Jazeera, was injured in the right hand by gunfire while covering protests east of Gaza City, according to his employer, news reports, reports on social media, Ramadan, and Saada.

In addition to the seven journalists injured by direct fire, Mohammed al-Duwaik, a cameraperson for the local news agency Itehad Press, was hit in his arms by shrapnel from an explosive device while he was covering protests east of Gaza City, according to Al-Duwaik and the PJS.

The Israel Defense Forces did not immediately reply to CPJ's email requesting comment.

Since the protests began on March 30, 2018, CPJ has documented that live rounds fired by the Israel Defense Force have hit at least 22 journalists, two of whom--Yaser Murtaja and Ahmed Abu Hussein--later died from their injuries.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The date of the Palestinians' commemoration has been corrected in the second paragraph.

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