BBC Journalists Assaulted by Israeli Police in Tel Aviv

Muhannad Tutunji, Haitham Abudiab, and members of the BBC's Arabic team were reportedly "stopped and assaulted" by Israeli police

by Faruk Imamovic
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BBC Journalists Assaulted by Israeli Police in Tel Aviv
© Getty Images News

In a recent troubling incident in Tel Aviv, Muhannad Tutunji, Haitham Abudiab, and members of the BBC's Arabic team were reportedly "stopped and assaulted" by Israeli police, according to an official statement by the British broadcasting corporation.

A Disturbing Encounter

The journalists were on their way to a hotel in Tel Aviv on Thursday when they were forcibly pulled from their vehicle, which bore a conspicuous red strip marked "TV." Despite presenting their press credentials, the confrontation escalated.

Tutunji, during his attempt to document the situation, reported that his phone was snatched and subsequently discarded onto the ground. He further alleges that he endured physical violence, detailing a strike to his neck. In a statement released on Friday, a BBC spokesperson voiced the corporation's concerns, stating, “One of our BBC News Arabic teams deployed in Tel Aviv, in a vehicle clearly marked as media, was stopped and assaulted last night by Israeli police”.

The statement further underscored the importance of a free press, emphasizing that, “Journalists must be able to report on the conflict in Israel-Gaza freely”. Efforts to gain a response from Israeli police have been initiated by the BBC, though a statement is yet to be received.

The Broader Context: An Escalating Conflict The assault on the journalists comes amidst an increasingly volatile backdrop. Over the past week, Palestinian militants, Hamas, have initiated an incursion into Israel. This ongoing conflict has led to tragic consequences, with the loss of over 3,200 lives from both sides.

In retaliation, Israel has not only placed the 25-mile Gaza Strip under siege but has also initiated a series of intensive air strikes. The dangers faced by journalists in the region was underscored yet again when Reuters videographer Issam Abdallah tragically lost his life.

Additionally, six other journalists, hailing from renowned agencies such as Reuters and Al-Jazeera, sustained injuries due to an Israeli shell in southern Lebanon on Friday. This was confirmed by the AP news agency. The gravity of Abdallah's demise was palpably conveyed by Reuters, which issued a somber statement expressing their sorrow: “We are deeply saddened to tell you that our videographer, Issam Abdallah, has been killed”.

The events of the past week serve as a poignant reminder of the dangers faced by those who aim to keep the world informed, even in the face of grave risks.

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