New York, June 3, 2021 — The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned the shooting attack on the home and car of Arab Israeli journalist Hassan Shelan and called on Israeli authorities to hold the perpetrators to account.
At 2 a.m. today, two masked gunmen fired dozens of bullets at the house and car of Shelan, a reporter who covers Arab affairs for the Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronot’s news website Ynet, in the Arab-majority city of Taibeh in central Israel, according to news reports, his employer, and Shelan, who recounted the experience on Facebook.
In an interview with Ynet, Shelan said that the assailants said his name and insulted him to make it clear he was their intended target.
According to the Palestinian news website Raya, Israeli police are investigating the incident. The Israeli police spokesperson’s office didn’t immediately reply to CPJ’s emailed request for comment.
“The attack on Hassan Shelan’s house is an example of the rising tide of violence against journalists in Israel,” said CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa representative Ignacio Miguel Delgado. “We call on Israeli authorities to swiftly finish their investigation, hold those responsible to account, and ensure that journalists are able to do their work safely and freely.”
Nobody was injured in the attack, but the exterior of Shelan’s house was marred with bullet holes and the car’s rear window was shattered, according to the same reports and footage posted on YouTube by Ynet.
Shelan wrote on Facebook that the bullets entered his childrens’ bedroom, missing them by inches. He also wrote that he doesn’t know who is behind the shooting.
According to Shelan’s employer, Shelan has recently covered the unrest, violence, and protests in Arab-majority and mixed Jewish-Arab cities in Israel and has received threats in the past, though the outlet did not specify what kind.
According to Raya, Shelan had alerted police to past threats, but no arrests were made.
“These criminals wanted to send a message: that we should shut up. They don’t want us to write about what is happening in the Arab community, but I am not afraid of anyone. I will keep working as usual,” Shelan told Ynet.
CPJ tried to reach Shelan via messaging app but did not receive a response.
As CPJ documented, Shelan was hit in the leg by shrapnel from a stun grenade thrown by an Israeli police officer while he was covering protests in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah on May 6.