New York, June 22, 2021 – Israeli authorities must conduct a swift and thorough investigation into the bombing of journalist Hassan Shelan’s home and hold those responsible to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
At about 11 p.m. on June 17, a bomb exploded on the second floor of Shelan’s home in the Arab-majority Israeli city of Baqa al-Gharbiyye, causing severe damage to the building but resulting in no injuries, according to posts by the journalist on Twitter, a report by his employer, the Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronot’s news website Ynet, and a statement by the Skeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom, a regional press freedom group.
Police told Shelan, who covers Arab affairs for Ynet, that two unidentified people on a motorcycle stopped near his home, one of them jumped over a fence and planted the bomb, and then fled the scene, according to Ynet and Skeyes.
Previously, on June 3, two masked gunmen shot at Shelan’s house and car in the Arab-majority city of Taibeh, as CPJ documented at the time. Police are investigating both the shooting and the bombing, but have made no arrests, according to Ynet and the journalist’s tweets.
“The rising number of attacks on Arab Israeli journalists is unacceptable. The bombing of Hassan Shelan’s home is at least the third attack on an Arab Israeli journalist in less than a month,” said CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa representative Ignacio Miguel Delgado. “Israeli authorities should step up their efforts to swiftly investigate these attacks, hold the perpetrators to account, and ensure the safety of journalists and their families.”
In images Shelan posted with his tweets, his home can be seen with extensive damage as a result of the explosion, including a partly collapsed wall. He told Skeyes that he and his family were not home when the bomb exploded, adding, “We are in a state of anxiety and tension, because we don’t know who is targeting us.”
Israeli Minister of Internal Security Omer Bar-Lev called Shelan a few hours after the explosion and told him that he would not allow violence against journalists to go unpunished, and that Israeli police are taking the attacks very seriously, according to Ynet.
Shelan’s most recent work for Ynet before the attack was a June 1 audio report about Arab workers who were allegedly fired from a grocery store for their political activity. In a June 19 tweet, Shelan said he did not know who the perpetrators are or what they want from him, but wrote that he would continue his work.
In an emailed statement sent to CPJ after the publication of this article, the Israeli police spokesperson’s office said that an investigation into the bombing was underway. The statement said that police take incidents involving journalists and media workers very seriously, and would take “all necessary actions” to pursue the case.
On June 9, unidentified assailants fired dozens of bullets at the home of the Arab Israeli journalist Nidal Ikhbaria in the Arab-majority Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm, as CPJ documented at the time.
[Editors’ note: This article has been updated in its ninth paragraph to include the Israel police response to CPJ’s request for comment.]