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Israel violated international law in targeted killing of journalist in Lebanon: UN

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Israel violated international law in targeted killing of journalist in Lebanon: UN
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A United Nations investigation has found that an Israeli tank, stationed along the Lebanon-Israel border, targeted and fatally wounded Issam Abdallah, a 37-year-old video journalist working for Reuters, while also leaving six other journalists injured, constituting a blatant violation of international law and UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

According to the investigation conducted by the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the tank fired two 120mm rounds at a group of journalists who were unmistakably identifiable, as they were documenting cross-border activities near the Lebanese village of Alma al-Chaab. Shockingly, the UN report revealed that there was no exchange of fire in the area for over 40 minutes preceding the incident, debunking any pretext of self-defence by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).

Resolution 1701, established in 2006 to cease hostilities between Israel and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, mandates UN peacekeepers to monitor the ceasefire along the Blue Line, the demarcation line between the two countries. The Unifil report unequivocally condemns the IDF's actions, stating that targeting civilians, especially journalists, is inexcusable and a clear violation of international law.

In response to the allegations, the IDF spokesperson Nir Dinar acknowledged an earlier attack by Hezbollah near the Israeli community of Hanita but maintained that the IDF's subsequent response aimed to neutralize the threat posed by the militant group. Dinar emphasized that the IDF does not intentionally target civilians, including journalists, and expressed regret over the incident.

However, Reuters' editor-in-chief, Alessandra Galloni, demanded accountability from Israel, urging authorities to elucidate the circumstances leading to Abdallah's death and hold those responsible accountable. The Unifil report, submitted to the United Nations in late February, has been shared with both the Lebanese and Israeli militaries, signalling the seriousness of the allegations.

The UN has called for a thorough investigation by the IDF into the incident and a review of their operational protocols to prevent similar tragedies in the future. The UN spokesperson reiterated the imperative of upholding international law and protecting civilians, including journalists, from harm.

Unifil's investigation corroborates earlier findings by Reuters, which revealed that the journalists were targeted by an Israeli tank stationed over a kilometre away. The group had been diligently documenting cross-border shelling for nearly an hour before becoming victims of the indiscriminate attack.

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TAGS:United NationsUN Security CouncilIsraeli Defense ForcesIssam Abdallah
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