After being beaten by Israeli forces in east Jerusalem on December 15 (left), Anadolu Agency photographer Mustafa Alkharouf is shown after treatment at a hospital the same day. (Screenshot: Union of Journalists in Israel/X; Photo: AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)

Israeli police officers beat, injured Anadolu photographer Mustafa Alkharouf in Jerusalem

Washington, D.C., December 15, 2023—The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply shocked by reports and footage of Israeli security forces severely beating Anadolu Agency photojournalist Mustafa Alkharouf and calls for transparency and timeliness by Israeli authorities as they investigate and hold those involved in attacking the journalist to account.

Alkharouf, a photojournalist with Turkish state-owned Anadolu Agency, was covering Friday prayers near Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem on December 15 when a group of Israeli Border Police officers attacked him, according to Anadolu Agency, footage shared by The Union of Journalists in Israel, and news reports.

The officers initially brandished their weapons at Alkharouf, punched him, and then threw him to the ground, kicking him. Alkharouf sustained severe blows, resulting in injuries to his face and body, and was subsequently transported by ambulance to Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem.

Israeli police also attacked camera operator Faiz Abu Ramila, who was with Alkharouf. CPJ was unable to immediately confirm details surrounding the attack. CPJ’s WhatsApp messages to Faiz did not immediately receive a response.

The Israeli soldiers obstructed the work of nearby press crews, preventing them from reaching Alkharouf to check on his condition after he was evacuated from the scene for medical treatment, according to Wafa.

“The physical attack on Mustafa Alkharouf is not a singular incident. It belongs to a pattern of physical attacks, assaults, and threats by Israeli soldiers and settlers on journalists reporting from the West Bank and Israel that have dramatically increased since October 7,” said CPJ Program Director Carlos Martínez de la Serna, from New York. “CPJ calls on Israeli authorities to immediately cease attacking journalists, hold accountable those involved in these attacks, and provide much-needed protection to journalists reporting in Israel and the West Bank.”

Since the start of the October 7 war, Israeli soldiers and settlers have assaulted and threatened Palestinian and international journalists reporting in Israel and the West Bank. These incidents included attacks on journalists from BBC Arabic, Sky News Arabia, the German public broadcaster ARD, Al-Jazeera English, The New Arab, and RT Arabic.

CPJ’s email to the Israeli Police did not immediately receive a response. Israeli police have launched an investigation into Alkharouf’s beating and suspended the officers involved, according to its post on X, Anadolu, and other news reports.