Farah Omar, a Lebanese correspondent of the Beirut-based, Hezbollah-affiliated broadcaster Al-Mayadeen TV, was killed by an Israeli strike on Tayr Harfa, south Lebanon, on November 21, 2023, according to Al-Mayadeen, the Beirut-based press freedom group SKeyes, and multiple news reports. The strike also killed her colleague, camera operator Rabih Al Maamari.
They were covering back-and-forth fire on the Tayr Harfa/Al-Jebin triangle in southern Lebanon between Israeli forces and Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group, these sources said. The clashes began days after an October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas, an ally of Iran-backed Hezbollah, led to the start of the Israel-Gaza war.
Omar, born in 1998, and Al Maamari were live on air giving an update from Tayr Harfa, about a mile from the Israeli border, just before they were hit.
Al-Mayadeen said in a statement that it believes its journalists were deliberately targeted because of its pro-Palestinian views. Ghassan Bin Jiddo, the channel’s director, said live on air that it will pursue an investigation, adding that “Israel by this is sending a message to Al-Mayadeen after deciding to close it in Occupied Palestine.”
According to The Associated Press, the Israeli military said its soldiers took action against an alleged threat posed by a weapons launching area in southern Lebanon. It said the attack was under review.
On November 12, Israel’s security cabinet had approved a decision to shut down Al-Mayadeen TV in Israel. The move followed emergency regulations passed the previous month enabling the government to close foreign news outlets deemed to be harming national security, as reported by The Jerusalem Post and The Times of Israel.
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati alleged in a statement that the strike was an Israeli attempt to silence the media.
Omar joined Al-Mayadeen in 2021. She was buried in her town of Mashghara on November 22, 2023.
CPJ’s emails requesting comment from the North America Desk of the Israel Defense Forces did not receive any response.