Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

NNA -nbsp;An investigation by Agence France-Presse into the strike in southern Lebanon on October 13 that killed a Reuters journalist and injured six others, including two from AFP, points to a tank shell only used by the Israeli army in this high-tension border region.

Two strikes hit the group of journalists in quick succession as they were working near the border village of Alma al-Shaab in an area that sees the Israeli army and armed Lebanese and Palestinian groups engaged in near-daily clashes.

Issam Abdallah, 37, was killed instantly. The other journalists present mdash; two other Reuters journalists, two from Al Jazeera, and two from AFP mdash; were all injured. AFP photographer Christina Assi, 28, was seriously wounded, later had a leg amputated and is still in hospital.

AFP jointly conducted a seven-week investigation with Airwars, an NGO that investigates attacks on civilians in conflict situations, based on evidence gathered from expert munitions analysis, satellite images, witness testimonies and video recordings filmed before and during the attack.

Its evidence points to an 120-mm fin-stabilized Israeli-made tank round, which is only used by the Israeli army in the high-tension border region.

The probe indicates that the strikes came from the southeast near the Israeli village of Jordeikh where Israeli tanks were operating. The nature of the strikes and lack of military activity in the vicinity of the journalists, combined with Israeli aerial surveillance resources, indicate it was a deliberate and targeted attack.

These findings are supported by separate investigations conducted by rights groups Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International.

HRW concluded that the strikes were quot;apparently deliberate attacks on civilians, which is a war crimequot; and which quot;should be prosecuted or may be prosecuted for war crimes.quot; Amnesty said the incident was quot;likely a direct attack on civilians that must be investigated as a war crimequot;.

An Israeli military spokesman said after the strike: quot;We are very sorry for the journalistrsquo;s deathquot;, adding that Israel was quot;looking intoquot; the incident, without taking responsibility.

quot;AFP has been very clear that we will take all judicial avenues that we deem relevant and possible to ensure that we can get justice for Christina and Issam,quot; said AFP Global News Director Phil Chetwynd. — AFP

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