Israel 'very sorry' for the death of Reuters journalist

Videographer Issam Abdallah was killed on Friday while covering Israeli shelling in southern Lebanon

Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah was killed while covering Israeli bombing in the Aita-al Chaab region of southern Lebanon on Friday. Reuters
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Israel is “very sorry for the death of any civilian, whether they are journalists or any other civilians”, the Israeli army's spokesman has told The National.

Avichay Adraee's statement comes after Reuters videographer Issam Abdallah, 37, was killed while covering Israeli bombing in the Aita-al Chaab region in southern Lebanon on Friday.

Other journalists, including those from AFP and Al Jazeera, were also wounded in the strike.

Mr Adraee did not say whether Israel was responsible or not.

“The incident is still under investigation,” Mr Adraee said, adding that he does not have a clear-cut answer regarding what happened.

“There was launch of drones by Hezbollah, which were targeted by the Israeli army.”

“This area witnessed fire exchanges, tensions, infiltration attempts, drone launches, firing of anti-tank missiles, for which Palestinian groups and Hezbollah has claimed responsibility,” he added.

On Friday, the Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations said the country would launch an investigation into the incident.

Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati condemned, in a statement, a “direct Israeli bombing” of the journalists while covering “the Israeli aggression in the south”.

Lebanon's army also said on Saturday that Israel was behind the attack.

“The Israeli enemy fired a rocket that hit a civilian car belonging to a media team, leading to the death of photographer Issam Abdallah and the injury of five others,” the army said in a statement.

Al Jazeera Media Network said that Israeli forces had “once again attempted to silence the media by targeting journalists”.

“Israel’s targeting of the Al Jazeera team is a blatant disregard of international safety standards that clearly distinguish the press, as they shelled and burnt an Al Jazeera broadcast vehicle despite our crew’s presence alongside other international media in an agreed upon location,” the network said in a statement.

The funeral for Mr Abdallah was held on Saturday afternoon in Khiam in southern Lebanon.

Hezbollah said on Saturday that “Israel is the responsible party … indisputably”.

It condemned the “partiality” and “wilful blindness” of the UN, Unifil {the UN's Interim Force in Lebanon], the White House spokesperson, Reuters and several other media outlets in a statement, saying that those organisations deliberately refrained from attributing responsibility for the casualties.

Updated: October 15, 2023, 4:57 AM