Issam Tillawi

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Issam Tillawi, a Palestinian journalist and program host for the official Palestinian Authority radio station Voice of Palestine (VOP), was killed after being shot in the head by Israeli gunfire during protests in the West Bank city of Ramallah on September 22, 2002. The incident occurred late in the evening around Ramallah’s Manara Square. 

According to Palestinian sources, Tillawi, 32, was both covering and participating in Palestinian demonstrations that had erupted there in protest of the Israeli army’s siege of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s headquarters. 

Journalists and VOP officials said that Tillawi was equipped with a tape recorder and a jacket marked “press.” According to PBS’s FRONTLINE/World, Tillawi was at the scene with his editor, who said he planned to interview protesters at the demonstration. After the military fired tear gas to disperse the crowd, Tillawi ran to take cover and was shot in the back of the head by an Israeli sniper, that outlet said. 

An Israel Defense Forces spokesperson was quoted saying that Tillawi was among the rioters and was not distinguishable as a reporter.

The IDF did not announce an investigation into Tillawi’s death.

CPJ asked the IDF about Tillawi and other cases of IDF killings of journalists in an April 2023 email. The IDF did not respond to the query about Tillaw’s case but said “it sees great importance in preserving the freedom of the press and the professional work of journalists.”

This report was updated on April 25, 2023.