Reuters calls for inquiry after cameraman is killed in Gaza

Reuters has called for an inquiry after one of is cameramen, Fadel Shana, was killed yesterday in the Gaza Strip in what was apparently an Israeli military strike.

Shana, 23, was covering a day of violence in which 16 other Palestinians and three Israeli soldiers were also killed.

Two youths passing by died in the same explosion that killed Shana, Reuters reported.

The agency said that Shana had stepped from his car to film an Israeli tank several hundred meters away.

The agency reported that video from Shana’s camera showed the tank opening fire. Two seconds after the shot raised dust around its gun, the tape reportedly went blank. Reuters soundman Wafa Abu Mizyed, 25, sustained a shrapnel wound.

Reuters said Shana was using an unarmoured sport utility vehicle bearing “TV” and “Press” markings.

A military official told Reuters: “We wish to express sorrow for the death of the Palestinian cameraman… It should be emphasized that the area in which the cameraman was hurt is an area in which ongoing fighting against armed, extreme and dangerous terrorist organizations occurs on a daily basis.

“The presence of media, photographers and other uninvolved individuals in areas of warfare is extremely dangerous and poses a threat to their lives.”

Reuters editor-in-chief David Schlesinger has requested an immediate investigation .

An Israeli soldier shot a Reuters photographer in the leg in Gaza in October. Two Reuters journalists were wounded by an Israeli tank shell in the enclave in 2003.

Seven Reuters journalists have died covering the war in Iraq since 2003.

In 2003 UK journalist James Miller was shot dead by the Israeli Defence Forces while filming a documentary in Gaza for Channel 4. In 2006 a London coroner said Miller had been murdered.

In a message to staff, Reuters editor-in-chief Schlesinger said: ‘I’m very sorry to report that 23-year-old Reuters cameraman Fadel Shana was killed on Wednesday in what appeared to be an Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip.

‘Our hearts obviously go out to his family, as we mourn another loss in our journalistic family. Our thoughts are with his colleagues in Israel and in Gaza who must go on reporting even when surrounded by tragedy.

‘I’ve called for an immediate and complete investigation into the incident. We know, of course, that journalism is a dangerous business. We know, of course, that we rush into danger when others rush away. We know, of course, that accidents happen.

‘But I also believe sincerely and absolutely that all of us – news organizations, governments and the military – have an obligation to make reporting safer and to take the utmost care when professional journalists are doing their jobs.

“It is, of course, striking that this tragedy occurred on the last day for Reuters as it has been and the day before Thomson Reuters begins as a news and information power in the world. I can but reflect on our more than a century and a half of bravery and sacrifice in the service of the news, and to vow that Reuters news in the new company will forge a new tradition, building on the old, that we can all be incredibly proud of.”

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