Israeli forces fired at camera operator Rabih Al-Monayar (left) and reporter Ameed Shehade while they were reporting on an Israeli raid for Al-Araby TV in the West Bank city of Tulkarm on May 4, 2024. (Screenshot: Al-Araby TV/YouTube)

CPJ calls for investigation into Israeli shooting at 2 Al-Araby TV journalists in West Bank

Beirut, May 6, 2024 — The Committee to Protect Journalists is extremely concerned by reports of Israeli forces shooting at an Al-Araby TV crew on Saturday and calls for an immediate and transparent investigation into whether the journalists were targeted.

Israeli forces fired at Ameed Shehade, a reporter with Qatari-funded broadcaster Al-Araby TV, and camera operator Rabih Al-Monayar while they were covering an Israeli raid on Deir al-Ghusun village in the West Bank city of Tulkarm, according to reports by the outlet, news reports, Shehade, and Wafa Awad, a photographer for the Palestinian Authority owned Wafa news agency, who was among the journalists covering the raid. Neither journalist was injured in the attack.

“On the hill where we were standing was about 15 other journalists,” Shehade told CPJ, adding that “a soldier opened fire from a vehicle 20 meters away from us.  They could see us clearly.” Shehade said the team “had to drop on the ground to escape the bullets and needed to crawl for a long distance to escape the shooting.”

Al-Araby TV aired footage of the journalists, wearing blue vests labeled “PRESS,” ducking near their car. After Al-Monayar retrieved the camera, it was found to be damaged by several bullet holes.

“CPJ is alarmed by the Israeli soldiers’ shooting at two Al-Araby TV journalists, which hit their camera, while they were reporting in the West Bank,” said CPJ Program Director Carlos Martinez de la Serna. “CPJ is relieved that the journalists survived the attack and calls for a swift investigation into whether they were targeted, especially considering this is the second time these reporters were attacked by the IDF while reporting.”

Al-Monayar shows the camera that the IDF shot, which was damaged by several bullet holes. (Screenshot: Al-Araby TV/YouTube)

Awad told CPJ that IDF soldiers fired tear gas towards the group of journalists before firing on the Al-Araby TV crew.

“The journalists covering the operation were targeted by IDF soldiers even though they were all wearing press vests, were reporting for hours,…and they can be clearly identified as journalists,” Awad told CPJ.

According to the Guardian, Israeli forces killed five Palestinians in the overnight raid; Hamas confirmed that four of the men killed were from its al-Qassam armed wing.

On July 3, 2023, Al-Monayar and Shehade were covering an Israeli operation against militants in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank when IDF forces in a vehicle shot at their equipment, destroying a transmitter and knocking a camera off a tripod. CPJ called for an investigation into the attack.

In a May 7 response to CPJ inquiries about the Tulkarm shooting, the IDF North America Desk said “at no point was there any deliberate shooting by IDF forces at journalists.” The IDF said that Israeli forces in the area fired weapons in response to gunfire from “terrorists” and that “while the IDF values the freedom of the press, it reiterates that presence in a conflict zone is dangerous.”

Editor’s note: This alert has been updated to include a response from the Israel Defense Forces.