Israel pressed to reveal why army killed cameraman

Donald Macintyre
Monday 16 June 2008 00:00
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Rescue workers douse the Reuters car, clearly marked as a press vehicle, in which Palestinian cameraman Fadal Shanaa was killed
Rescue workers douse the Reuters car, clearly marked as a press vehicle, in which Palestinian cameraman Fadal Shanaa was killed

The Israeli military has come under renewed pressure to explain why its tank shells killed a Reuters cameraman and eight other Palestinians on a road in Gaza two months ago.

Reuters is pressing for immediate release of the military's internal inquiry findings after an independent report for the London-based news agency found that there had been was no militant activity in that area.

Fadel Shana, 24, was killed on 16 April by flechette darts that burst from a tank shell as he was filming about a mile away from the tanks and in clear view of them. Eight bystanders aged between 12 and 20 were also killed, involving two tank shells.

Mr Shana's car and body armour carried press markings, and none of the other casualties were armed.

The Israeli army has not yet produced a detailed account but has said its soldiers did nothing wrong. Mark Thompson, Reuters' Middle East managing editor, has written to the military to ask how the soldiers involved failed to identify Mr Shana as a cameraman or the other victims as children and other civilians.

The investigation carried out for the agency found that the Reuters crew had half an hour earlier driven past a point 700 metres from the tanks.

Rejecting a request that IDF officers relay information to field commanders from journalists about their movements in Gaza for their safety, the military said last month: "There will be no co-ordination of press movement and activity in the areas of IDF operations."

Major Avital Leibovich, an IDF spokeswoman, said: "We are in the process of checking a few more details in order to complete the picture. As soon as we have the conclusions we will share them."

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