United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called on Israel to swiftly complete and disclose the findings of its investigation into an artillery strike in Lebanon that resulted in the death of a journalist and injuries to six others, amid international concerns about the incident.
International Concern Over Journalist Casualties
During a news conference on Thursday, Blinken stressed the need for a comprehensive investigation by Israel into the October 13 strike in southern Lebanon. “It is important and appropriate that Israel thoroughly investigate this matter," he stated.
Blinken's call comes in the wake of separate investigations by Human Rights Watch (HRW), Amnesty International, and news agencies Reuters and AFP, which identified an Israeli tank as the source of the strikes. These strikes tragically resulted in the death of Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah and injuries to six other journalists, including Al Jazeera staff Elie Brakhia and Carmen Joukhadar.
Blinken also expressed his deep respect for journalists working in hazardous conditions worldwide, highlighting the essential role they play in conflict zones and the need for their protection.
Investigations Suggest Deliberate Attack
Israel's military has acknowledged that it is reviewing the circumstances of the strikes but has not yet publicized any conclusions from its investigations.
However, HRW's report suggested that the attacks were deliberate, potentially amounting to a war crime. The organization's findings were based on witness accounts and verified visual evidence, which indicated that the journalists were clearly distinguishable as media members and away from any military activity.
Similarly, Amnesty International's investigation concluded that the Israeli military likely executed a "direct attack on civilians," warranting investigation for a potential war crime. This incident adds to the alarming statistics reported by the Committee to Protect Journalists, which notes that at least 63 journalists have been killed since the start of the war in Gaza.
As the international community awaits Israel's response, the incident underscores the pressing need for accountability and transparency in military operations, especially in conflict zones where journalists and civilians are at risk.