Demonstrators run as Israeli troops fire tear gas canisters in the southern Gaza Strip on April 19, 2019. At least four Palestinian journalists were injured by Israeli troops during the protests. (Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

Israeli forces injure four Palestinian journalists covering Gaza protests

April 29, 2019 1:19 PM ET

On April 19, 2019, at least four Palestinian journalists covering protests in the Gaza Strip were injured by rubber bullets and tear gas canisters fired by Israeli soldiers, according to local press freedom organizations and social media posts by the journalists and their colleagues.

Israeli soldiers fired a tear gas canister that hit Mohammad al-Louh, a reporter and photographer for the independent Al-Watan Radio in Gaza, in his left ankle while he was covering protests east of the Al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, according to the regional press freedom group Skeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom and the journalist, who spoke with CPJ.

"I was about 150 meters away from the border fence east of Al-Bureij refugee camp and I was wearing a vest clearly marked with the word PRESS, but I was targeted all the same," al-Louh said. He told CPJ that the canister broke his ankle, which will require surgery.

Al-Louh posted video and pictures on Facebook showing paramedics and journalists taking him away from the scene. He was subsequently transferred to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah for medical treatment, the journalist told CPJ.

The Israeli Defense Forces did not reply to CPJ's emailed request for comment.

Israeli soldiers also injured two freelance photojournalists covering the protests east of Al-Bureij: Mahmoud Badr was hit by a tear gas canister in his left ankle and Ahmed Wishah was shot by a rubber bullet in the left side of his head, according to Skeyes and pictures posted by Badr and Wishah on their Facebook accounts.

Badr told Skeyes that he was 300 meters away from the border fence and wearing a helmet and a vest clearly marked as press when he was hit by the canister.

Freelance photographer Abdel Rahim al-Khatib was shot by Israeli soldiers with a rubber bullet in his left thigh while covering protests east of the southern Gazan city of Rafah, according to Skeyes and Facebook posts by Khatib and his colleagues.

In a Facebook post written a few hours after he was shot, Khatib said he was in good health.

News reports citing the Palestinian Health Ministry estimated that 37 Palestinians were injured surrounding the April 19 protests in Gaza. However, the local human rights organization Palestinian Center for Human Rights estimated that 100 were injured.

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