At least four Palestinian journalists were injured by gunfire and shrapnel while covering protests in the Gaza Strip between July 27 and August 10, 2018, according to news reports, the SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom, reports, pictures, and videos shared on social media, and Gazan photojournalist Moneeb Saada.
According to news reports, medics in the Gaza Strip said that Israeli forces are shooting at protesters and journalists with rounds known as butterfly bullets, which explode upon impact and cause severe damage.
- Freelance photojournalist Samer al-Zanoun told CPJ that he was covering peaceful protests east of Abu Safeya in northern Gaza on July 27 when he was hit by shrapnel from an explosive bullet.
“I was standing 300 to 350 meters away from the border fence, covering the protests when suddenly an explosive bullet went off near me and shrapnel hit me in the right leg and thigh. Protesters took me to a medical tent near Al-Awda refugee camp, east of Jabalya. I was subsequently transferred to the Indonesian hospital in northern Gaza, where the shrapnel was removed. I was discharged four hours later,” al-Zanoun said.
Pictures al-Zanoun posted on Facebook show him wearing a bullet-proof vest marked with the word “PRESS” at time he was injured.
- Freelance journalist Sobhi Abu al-Husayn was hit by a live round in his right thigh while he was covering protests east of the southern Gazan city of Rafah on July 27, according to newsreports, postson Twitter by al-Husayn, and the Doha Center for Media Freedom.
- Alaa Abdel Fatah, a photographer for the Hamas-affiliated broadcaster Al-Quds TV, told CPJ that he was covering the protests east of the southern Gazan city of Rafah on August 10 when he was hit with live rounds.
“Two ambulances and the Palestinian medic Abdullah al-Qatati had been shot and two Merkava tanks appeared, so I moved away from the source of fire. I was standing alone, about 500 meters away from the border fence, when I was hit in my left knee with a 250-mm bullet, which entered and exited my left leg, leaving a large hole. First aid was provided to me on the spot and I was subsequently transferred to the Martyr Joseph al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah, but I didn’t stay long because the number of injured people in Gaza was high,” Abdel Fatah said.
- Freelance photojournalist Mahmoud al-Jamal was hit by shrapnel on the left side of his head near his ear while covering protests east of the southern Gazan city of Rafah on August 10, according to Saada, news reports, and reports shared on social media by media outlets and the journalist.
Pictures shared on social media show that al-Jamal was taken to a nearby tent where he was treated of his wounds. The same pictures show that al-Jamal was wearing a vest marked “PRESS” at the time he was injured.
The Israel Defense Forces did not reply to CPJ’s email requesting comment.
Since the protests began on March 30, 2018, CPJ has documented at least 19 journalists hit by live rounds fired by Israel Defense Forces, two of whom–Yaser Murtaja and Ahmed Abu Hussein–later died from their injuries.