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BBC says journalist ‘dragged from car and assaulted’ by Israeli police on way to Tel Aviv hotel

Journalists ‘must be able to report on the conflict in Israel-Gaza freely’, corporation says

Charlotte McLaughlin
Saturday 14 October 2023 04:06 BST
Column of tanks roll near Lebanon-Israel border

A BBC journalist has been “stopped and assaulted” by the Israeli police, the corporation has said.

Muhannad Tutunji, Haitham Abudiab, and the BBC Arabic team were making their way to a hotel in Tel Aviv on Thursday when they were dragged from their car by the police, according to BBC News.

During the stop of their car, marked with red “TV” tape, the news website reported that the pair showed their press identification cards.

Mr Tutunji said while filming the incident, his phone was taken and thrown to the floor. He also claims he was hit on the neck.

On Friday, a BBC spokesperson said: “One of our BBC News Arabic teams deployed in Tel Aviv, in a vehicle clearly marked as media, was stopped and assaulted last night by Israeli police.

“Journalists must be able to report on the conflict in Israel-Gaza freely.”

The BBC has contacted the Israeli police for comment.

Over the last week, Palestinian militants Hamas have launched an incursion into Israel.

The war has claimed at least 3,200 lives on both sides and Israel has placed the 25-mile Gaza Strip under siege and subjecting it to a torrent of retaliatory air strikes.

Reuters videographer Issam Abdallah has been killed and six journalists – including reporters from Reuters and Al-Jazeera – were injured following an Israeli shell in southern Lebanon on Friday according to the AP news agency.

“We are deeply saddened to tell you that our videographer, Issam Abdallah, has been killed,” the Reuters news agency said in a statement.

The shelling occurred during an exchange of fire along the Lebanon-Israel border between Israeli troops and members of Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group.

In message to BBC staff, chief executive of BBC News and Current Affairs Deborah Turness thanked those on the ground “for the extraordinary courage and care you have shown as we tell this shocking and complex story”.

She added: “We have provided our global audiences with powerful coverage and first-hand testimony of the atrocities committed by Hamas, and the terrible suffering in Gaza.”

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