BEIRUT: Israeli bombardment of south Lebanon on Tuesday killed four civilians, official media said, including two journalists from Lebanon’s Al-Mayadeen television, the broadcaster reported, in ongoing violence at the Lebanon-Israel border.

 Rabih Maamari
Rabih Maamari

The state-run National News Agency (NNA) reported “the deaths of three citizens — two journalists and another civilian — in enemy bombing” of the Tair Harfa area.

Al-Mayadeen said its correspondent Farah Omar, 25, and cameraman Rabih Maamari, 40, were killed. Lebanon’s army also said the trio were killed in “enemy bombing”.

Israel’s military said “soldiers operated against a threat” from a Hezbollah “launching area” in the area of Jebbayn, near Tair Harfa.

“We are aware of a claim regarding journalists in the area who were killed as a result of IDF (army) fire. This is an area with active hostilities, where exchanges of fire occur… The incident is under review,” it said.

CPJ says 53 journalists, media workers killed since Oct 7

Al-Mayadeen director Ghassan bin Jiddo said the third civilian killed with the journalists was a “contributor”.

 Farah Omar
Farah Omar

“It was a direct attack, it was not by chance,” Bin Jiddo said in an interview on the channel, noting it came after an Israeli government decision this month to block access to the website of Al-Mayadeen.

Elsewhere in south Lebanon, the NNA said “enemy aircraft raided inhabited houses in Kfar Kila, leading to the death of citizen Laiqa Sarhan, 80, and the wounding of her granddaughter”, a Syrian national.

Hezbollah, said that “in response” to the attacks, its fighters targeted Israeli forces with guided missiles and a “military base” with Grad-type Katyusha rockets.

It had claimed other attacks on Tuesday, while the Israeli military also said it had struck “terrorist cells” near the border, as well as Hezbollah targets and the source of mortar shelling and other “launches” from Lebanon.

‘No limit’

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati expressed his “strong condemnation of the Israeli attack” on the journalists, a statement said. “This attack proves once more that Israeli crimes know no limit and that (Israel’s) aim is to silence the media who expose its crimes and its attacks,” Mikati was quoted as saying in the statement.

Fifty-three journalists and media workers have been killed in the ongoing unrest in the Middle East, according to a tally by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) published on Tuesday.

The toll includes 46 Palestinians, four Israelis and three Lebanese killed since Oct 7, the New York-based organisation said. The CPJ said 11 journalists have been injured and three are missing since the start of the unrest, while 18 have been arrested.

Published in Dawn, November 22th, 2023

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