Journalist killed, several injured in Israeli strike on southern Lebanon

At least one journalist has been killed and several others were wounded in a shelling attack by the Israeli army in southern Lebanon, according to witnesses and reporters at the scene.

The Reuters news agency confirmed on Friday that Issam Abdallah, a videographer, was killed in the attack.

“We are urgently seeking more information, working with authorities in the region, and supporting Issam’s family and colleagues,” Reuters said in a statement.

Al Jazeera announced that cameraperson Elie Brakhya and reporter Carmen Joukhadar were among those wounded.

“The tank shell hit them directly. It was horrible. The situation over there was, I can’t explain, I can’t describe it,” Al Jazeera correspondent Ali Hashem reported from Alma ash-Shaab, who said a team of reporters had been clearly marked as press.

The news outlet AFP has also added that two of its reporters were among those injured. AFP reported that the shelling followed an attempted infiltration of the Israeli border from southern Lebanon by a Palestinian faction, citing a Lebanese security source. The Associated Press said that a nearby vehicle was left charred by the attack, citing a photographer who was present.

Lebanon’s Press Editors’ Syndicate condemned the “targeting” of journalists, describing the killing of Abdallah as a “deliberate crime” in a statement.

Over the last few days, armed groups in southern Lebanon have exchanged sporadic fire with Israeli forces, with tensions high as fighting between Israel and the armed Palestinian group Hamas ratchets up and Israel prepares to launch an expected ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.

Residents of northern Israel and southern Lebanon have watched the cross-border exchanges with trepidation, fearing the possibility of an escalation that could usher in a large-scale conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, which called the Israeli strike on Friday a “heinous crime” that would not pass “without an appropriate response”.

Israeli shelling killed three Hezbollah members earlier this week, and Hezbollah hit an Israeli position with an anti-tank missile on Wednesday. But so far, both sides have limited themselves to tit-for-tat responses that have allowed them to avoid the kind of full-blown confrontation that would come with a heavy price.

As an unrelenting wave of Israeli airstrikes continue to hammer Gaza, numerous reporters seeking to cover events there have been killed.

According to press freedom groups and media networks, at least six journalists have been killed in Gaza since Israel began pounding the besieged territory on Saturday after Hamas, which governs the territory, launched a deadly attack on southern Israel.

Saeed al-Taweel, Mohammed Subh and Hisham Alnwajha were killed in an air raid on Tuesday.

Ibrahim Mohammad Lafi and Mohammad Jarghoun, were shot dead while reporting on Saturday, according to the Palestinian press freedom group MADA and the Journalist Support Committee (JSC), a non-profit.

Mohammad el-Salhi was shot dead on the border to the east of Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reported on Saturday.

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