On October 13, 2023, a tragic event unfolded near the town of Alma as Shaab on the Lebanese border when an Israeli airstrike claimed the life of Essam Abdullah, a seasoned camera operator from Reuters news agency. At least four other journalists, including two from Reuters, Thaer Al-Sudani and Maher Nazeh, were left injured. This event underscores the dangers that journalists face in conflict zones, specifically Israeli aggression.
The indiscriminate nature of the strike was further underscored by injuries sustained by correspondents from Agence France-Presse (AFP) and Al Jazeera. Among the injured were Karmen Jokhadar and Eli Brakhia from Al Jazeera, both experienced professionals dedicated to reporting from conflict zones.
Despite being clearly identifiable as members of the press, clad in jackets and helmets, the fact that they were still targeted raises troubling questions about the safety and protection of journalists in these hostile environments.
The incident unfolded as journalists were performing their duties along the Israel-Lebanon border, providing live coverage to the world. The harrowing footage captured one journalist’s desperate cry, his voice trembling with shock. “What’s happened? I cannot feel my legs,” echoing the immediate chaos and distress that followed the strike.
Reuters, in an official statement, expressed profound sorrow over the loss of their resolution videographer, Issam Abdallah. They also extended their support to Issam’s family and colleagues, emphasizing their commitment to seeking more information and cooperating with authorities in the region. Additionally, Thaer Al-Sudani and Maher Nazeh, the injured Reuters reporters, are currently receiving medical care, further highlighting the physical toll exacted on these brave individuals. The international community, media organizations, and human rights advocates are now calling for a thorough investigation into this tragic incident. The circumstances leading up to the airstrike and the measures taken to safeguard journalists in such conflict zones are of the utmost concern.
This incident serves as a stark reminder of the dangers that journalists face while striving to provide the world with vital information from the heart of conflict zones. Their unwavering dedication to truth and transparency, often at great personal risk, remains an essential pillar of a free and informed society.
As we mourn the loss of Essam Abdullah and send our hopes for a swift recovery to the injured journalists, it is imperative that we renew our commitment to ensuring the safety and protection of journalists operating in volatile regions around the world. Their voices and their sacrifices are crucial to upholding the principles of a free and democratic society.
Date: October 13, 2023
By Habib Badawi