At least 10 Palestinian journalists were injured by gunfire, rubber bullets, and tear gas canisters fired by Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip from March 22 to April 5, 2019, according to the journalists, news reports, and local press freedom groups.
On March 22, Hisham al-Saoudi, a reporter for the local radio station Al-Israa, was shot in his left foot by Israeli Defense Forces while covering a protest east of the Jabalia refugee camp, north of Gaza City, according to the local press freedom group Skeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom and al-Saoudi, who spoke with CPJ.
Al-Saoudi told CPJ that he was covering confrontations between young Palestinians and Israeli soldiers when the soldiers opened fire.
“I was surrounded by a number of journalists, away from the line of contact, when a live round hit my left foot. It entered the foot from one side and exited from the opposite side, also hitting my right foot and causing moderate wounds,” he told CPJ.
He was subsequently transferred to Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, where he was treated for his wounds, according to Gaza-based daily Al-Estqlal.
On March 30, at least eight journalists covering protests throughout the Gaza Strip were injured by rubber bullets and tear gas fired by Israeli troops.
Mohammad abu Hayya, editorial director for the website of Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa Radio, and Mohammad Mosbah Ballour, a reporter and cameraman for the Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa TV, were each shot in the leg by rubber bullets while reporting east of the Al-Bureij refugee camp, according to Skeyes, the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate, the Gaza Center for Media Freedom, and Facebook posts by both journalists. They were treated for their injuries in medical tents nearby, according to those reports.
Ballour told Skeyes that he was filming protesters from 50 meters away when he was hit by a rubber bullet despite carrying a camera and being clearly identified as a journalist.
Mohammad al-Louh, a reporter and photographer for the news website Voice of the Nation, inhaled tear gas while covering the protests east of the refugee camp and had to be treated in a medical tent near the camp, according to Skeyes, the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate, and Facebook posts by al-Louh and his sister.
While covering protests east of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, Mohammad Qandil, a freelance journalist, Ataa Fujo, a photographer for the Gaza-based news website Sama Jerusalem, and Alaa al-Namla, a reporter for the news website Palestine Today and Quds Radio, were each shot in the leg by tear gas canisters, and Bilal al-Darbi, a photographer for the news agency Rawad al-Haqiqa, was hit in the right side of his face by a tear gas canister, according to Skeyes, the Gaza Center for Media Freedom, the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate, and Facebook posts by the journalists, their colleagues, and local media.
Al-Darbi was brought to the Abu Yousef al-Nayyar Hospital in Rafah for treatment, according to social media posts by al-Darbi and his friend, Alaa Abdelfattah; the other journalists were treated on location, according to the posts shared on Facebook.
“I was standing on top of a mound along with three other journalists, and away from the protesters. We carried cameras and journalistic equipment and were clearly identified as journalists,” al-Namla told Skeyes.
Also on March 30, Saber Noureldine, a Palestinian photographer and managing director of the European Pressphoto Agency in Gaza, was hit in the back by a tear gas canister while he was covering protests east of Gaza City, according to Skeyes, the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate, and Noureldine, who spoke with CPJ.
“The canister hit me in the back, hitting my cell phone, which was damaged, and a battery I was carrying. I sustained some bruises, but all in all I was very lucky,” Noureldine told CPJ. He said that he believes he was targeted as a journalist.
On April 5, Safinaz al-Louh, a reporter for the news website Amad, which is aligned with the Palestinian politician Mohammad Dahlan, was hit in her right leg by a tear gas canister while covering protests east of Al-Bureij refugee camp, according to Skeyes and Facebook posts shared by her colleagues.
Gaza health officials reported that 83 Palestinians were injured by Israeli soldiers on April 5, according to The Associated Press.