Enquiry into the death of Palestinian journalist Imad Abu Zahra

first_img Israel now holding 13 Palestinian journalists Linus Gardell”I know for a fact that there was shooting before Imad and Said got shot. The shooting only started a while after the tanks had rolled into position. There was a man who started throwing watermelons for a long time, even before the tanks had rolled into position. They fired two rounds of shots at the Arab bank. The shots were fired on and off for quite some time. I’m definitely sure that it started with the madman throwing stones and watermelons.”Mohamed Loubany, Canadian volunteer”I saw the tanks and APC moving in. After about four or five minutes the APC hit the power line after trying to make a wide turn. The APC and tanks took a defensive posture when the APC turned out to be stuck. At that time a crazy guy started to throw stones at the tank at the back, followed by watermelons. The tank ignored him for a while and then fired some shots in the air to scare him off. These were the first shots fired. The man did not leave and walked with the tank, and the tank started blowing thick smoke. When the smoke cleared they started shooting. This happened a couple of times. After the smoke cleared they would shoot at the walls, on the street. Around this time, Imad and Said must have been shot on the other side because by now one could hear other shooting. You do not want to be around when they start blowing smoke because if they shoot through the smoke, they have no idea what they are shooting at, and you can get shot. Ialso heard about Palestinian fighters coming in, but that was later.”Other indirect witnesses:Abu Zahra’s mother (She did not witness the events in the street, but had seen her son in the morning)”Imad left the house at around 9:30 am on the morning of the 11th. He was not wearing a bulletproof jacket as there was no curfew. He was carrying two cameras, one around his neck. Imad was working that day but I do not know on what. He might have wanted to take some pictures to send over the Internet. There was no curfew and he left the house to go to the market. I was there at the market myself. I talked to Imad at around 1:30 pm, when I told him I was going to his sister’s to get a ride home. He told me he was going home too (he lived at his parents) to take a shower and have lunch. Then the tanks came back, at around 2 pm. At around 2:15 pm I received a phone call at my daughter’s that Imad and Said had been shot and were at the hospital. When I arrived there he could not speak. The doctors tried to stop the bleeding and brought him to the O.R. The operation was successful but he had lost too much blood and died. I heard that an ambulance was called to the site, but could not get to him because of the constant shooting.”Doctor Naee Nazal (He did not witness the events in the street, but received the injured journalists at the hospital)”I was present when Said Dahla and Imad Abu Zahra were brought in at the Martyr Dr. Khalil Hospital. According to the size of the wound and the blood loss by the time Imad was brought in, I estimate that he had been shot about ten minutes before that time. The maximum time a person can survive such a wound is 20 minutes. Because Imad was still conscious when he was brought in, it is plausible that he was shot seven to ten minutes before he was brought in.”Map Organisation Receive email alerts – The report in .pdf fileIntroductionPalestinian press photographer Imad Abu Zahra (see photo), 34, was shot in the leg in the centre of the West Bank town of Jenin on 11 July 2002. Another Palestinian journalist, Said Dahla, was also wounded in the same incident. Abu Zahra died the next day in Jenin hospital as a result of his injuries. At the joint request of Reporters Without Borders and Damocles Network, Nadette de Visser, a Dutch freelance journalist based in Jerusalem, carried out an enquiry in Jenin from 19 to 25 July 2002 with the aim of shedding light on this incident.In order to obtain the testimony of Palestinian eye-witnesses, an interpreter assisted De Visser in her field investigation. De Visser also questioned four international observers/aid volunteers who arrived just after the shooting. Two of these foreigners recorded 10 minutes of video footage shortly after Abu Zahra was shot which provides several elements of information. Finally, several requests were made to the Israeli authorities (by mail and telephone) for their version of the events. An official Israeli army statement is included in its entirety in this report. In all, De Visser obtained the testimonies of 10 persons on the circumstances of this incident.Who fired the shots that hit Abu Zahra? Was he clearly identifiable as a journalist? What was the situation on the streets of Jenin at the moment of the incident? Were paramedics prevented from reaching the two injured journalists and giving them aid? Although the aim of this enquiry was to establish the circumstances of Abu Zahra’s death, it also took account of the case of his injured colleague, Dahla.An increasingly violent conflictAccording to Agence France-Presse, the toll from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on 5 August 2002 was 2,420 dead – 1,779 on the Palestinian side and 598 on the Israeli side (The deaths of foreigners are not included in the number of dead on the Palestinian side and the Israeli side, just in the total). Reuters, for its part, gave a tally of 2,067 dead -1,482 on the Palestinian side and 585 on the Israeli side.The Palestinian town of Jenin has not been spared. It was in the spotlight at the start of April following the Israeli army offensive. The Israeli authorities said this was justified by the fact that Jenin’s refugee camp housed individuals implicated in attacks against Israeli civilians. As a result of the fierce controversy about this intervention (and whether or not there was a massacre), Human Rights Watch issued a report in May (See the Human Rights Watch report: “Jenin: IDF military operations” – May 2002). This said that the operations had taken a heavy toll but no evidence was found to sustain the massacre allegation. It said, “research demonstrates that, during their incursion into the Jenin refugee camp, Israeli forces committed serious violations of international humanitarian law, some amounting prima facie to war crimes”. It also reported that at least 52 Palestinians were killed as a result of the military operations in the camp and surrounding areas, of whom at least 22 were civilians, including children, physically disabled, and elderly people.On 11 July, the day Abu Zahra was wounded, the entry of tanks into Jenin was part of an Israeli military operation launched on 19 June.A worsening climate for press freedomThe situation of press freedom has deteriorated as never before in Israel’s history since the start of the second Intifada and, even more so, since the start of the Israeli army’s incursion into Palestinian towns on 29 March 2002. Reporters Without Borders has recorded dozens of cases of journalists being arrested, threatened, roughed up, restricted in their movements, expelled, injured or even stripped of their accreditation or passports. Although Israel has signed and ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which article 19 guarantees the “freedom to seek, receive and impart information”, the Israeli army makes a point in the field of preventing journalists from covering its operations.Reporters Without Borders has registered that 46 journalists have been injured by gunfire since September 2000. As a result of investigations in the field, the organisation is in a position to say that the gunfire was of Israeli origin in most of these cases. Several of these journalists were seriously injured. Some were clearly identifiable and were at a distance from the clashes when they were hit. With few exceptions, no serious investigations have been carried out and few sanctions have been applied to those who fired the shots, even when responsibility was clear, as in the case of TF1 correspondent Bertrand Aguirre, injured on 15 May 2001 in Ramallah. An Italian photographer, Raffaele Ciriello (see photo) of El Corriere della Sera, died on 13 March after being hit by Israeli gunfire in Ramallah. He was hit by six bullets fired by Israeli solders from an Israeli tank located near Al Manara square, in the city centre. On 23 August, the Israeli army said that an internal investigation into the shooting death of Raffaele Ciriello found the army was not to blame. The army said the results of its investigation found “no evidence and no knowledge of an (army) force that fired in the direction of the photographer”.Imad Abu Zahra, dead at the age of 34Born in July 1967, Abu Zahra studied tourism in 1991 and then journalism at the University of Birzeit from 1997 to 1999. When the second Intifada erupted in September 2000, he was earning a living by working in a Tel-Aviv restaurant. He had to abandon this job at that time, above all because of the problems of circulating between the Palestinian towns and Israel.According to his CV (In the Appendix, see Abu Zahra’s CV, provided by his parents), he worked as a freelance journalist for local newspapers from 1991 to 2001. In 1997, he set up an FM radio station in Jenin called Al-Ahlam. At around the same time, he also edited a newspaper called Jenin which, according to his parents, was closed after its sixth issue by the Palestinian Authority, which was often criticized in the newspaper. Abu Zahra held a press card issued by the Palestinian Authority and, until 1996, a card issued by the Israeli government press office. According to the testimony of friends and relatives, and foreign journalists, he above all worked as a “fixer”. This term is used for a person who gathers information and acts as guide and interpreter for the foreign press.Where did the shots come from? Were they justified?While the various versions of events diverge on certain points, there is no doubt about the Israeli origin of the shots as this was both affirmed by witnesses and recognized by the Israeli army.On 11 July 2002, as two tanks and an armoured personnel carrier (APC) turned into King Faisal street, the APC struck an electricity pole and became immobilised between the two tanks (See the plan). The shooting began between 2 pm and 2:30 pm.According to the army, which omitted to mention the presence of the two tanks, the shots came from the APC and were justified by the need to return fire:”On 11 July 2002, an armoured vehicle entered Jenin in search of a terrorist who was reported to be in the area. During the search operation, the armoured vehicle collided with an electricity post and was immobilized. Palestinian rioters used this as an opportunity to throw Molotov Cocktails, stones and other objects at the vehicle. Immediately thereafter, shots were fired at the vehicle. The IDF soldiers fired warning shots into the air and then returned the rioters’ fire.” (IDF)According to all the eye-witnesses, the shots came from tank No. 1 (See the plan) at a moment of calm when nothing suggested that gunfire was about to start.”On Thursday 11 July, after the curfew was lifted, I went to King Faisal street. I was standing outside a shop of a friend of mine, when I saw Sa?d Dahla and Imad Abu Zahra in the area. I knew them to be journalists as they were always there in the field filming. Suddenly we were surprised by the entrance of the IDF tanks into the street in the middle of the city. It was peaceful. Imad and Said approached by the opposite street to where the tanks were to take some photos. Without warning, the soldiers in the tank opened fire in the direction of the journalists.” (Mir’i)The disposition of the two tanks and the APC suggest that it would have been more logical for the shots to have come from tank No. 1 rather than the APC (See the plan). However, this cannot be affirmed with certainty without a ballistic expert report.On the other hand, thanks to the video footage and testimonies, one can establish that no clashes were taking place at the time of the incident.”I was at my office, one floor above the market where I run a taxi-company. Around 2:00 PM, through my office window, I saw people running away from the market. Within a couple of minutes the marketplace was empty. Three tanks came rolling through the streets, but up to that moment there was no shooting.” (Said’s father)Muhammed Loubany, a Canadian volunteer who went to Jenin that day, corroborated the preceding testimony, adding that the only threat came from a mentally retarded person situated in the opposite direction (near tank No. 2):”I saw the tanks and APC moving in. After about four or five minutes the APC hit the power line after trying to make a wide turn. The APC and tanks took a defensive posture when the APC turned out to be stuck. At that time a crazy guy started to throw stones at the tank at the back, followed by watermelons. The tank ignored him for a while and then fired some shots in the air to scare him off. These were the first shots fired. The man did not leave and walked with the tank, and the tank started blowing thick smoke. When the smoke cleared they started shooting. This happened a couple of times. After the smoke cleared they would shoot at the walls, on the street. Around this time, Imad and Said must have been shot on the other side because by now one could hear other shooting.” (Mohamed Loubany)A long section of the video shot by Tobias Karlsson and Pete Blacker (All references to the video concern the one made by Tobias Karlsson and Pete Blacker) shows the “madman” gesticulating and throwing objects at the tank. It does not, however, show any rioters or armed Palestinian militants.”The shooting only started a while after the tanks had rolled into position. There was a man who started throwing watermelons for a long time, even before the tanks had rolled into position. They fired two rounds of shots at the Arab Bank. The shots were fired on and off for quite some time. I am definitely sure that it started with the madman throwing stones and watermelons.” (Linus Gardel)If there were exchanges of shots, they did not start until after the two journalists were injured. This is indicated in the testimonies of the Canadian observer, Loubany, and Reuters cameraman Ali Samoudi.”After people around the area heard that some journalists were hit they started to throw rocks and watermelons at the tanks. When we arrived no one was throwing stones.” (Ali Samoudi)”You do not want to be around when they start blowing smoke because if they shoot through the smoke they have no idea what they are shooting at, and you can get shot. I also heard about Palestinian fighters coming in, but that was later” (Mohamed Loubany)According to information received, soldiers are instructed not to let any persons approach the tanks for fear that someone could throw a hand-grenade through the trap door. It is therefore conceivable that the shots fired by tank No. 2 were not in response to a specific threat but rather were just to scare away the “madman”.Moreover, according to Dahla (see photo), the shots were fired in their direction, at ground level.”They were shooting at our feet, so we got down on the ground. I managed to get away and I saw Imad lying on the floor, with his leg injured.” (Said Dahla)This suggests that Abu Zahra, like Dahla, was fired on not with the aim to kill but to prevent anyone approaching. The size of the opening of the wound in his right leg and the fact that the bullet lodged in the leg after entering suggests that the injury was the result of a ricochet, not a direct hit. The size of the bullet is not given in the doctors’ report.Nothing explains why the Israeli soldiers opened fire at a time when the street was apparently calm, not even the use of shots as means of intimidation. Were there not other means for the tanks to keep Palestinian civilians away from the immobilised APC (tear gas, warning shots fired in the air, signalling movement of the main gun)? The shots were clearly fired toward the two men although they posed no danger for the tanks. The only person who could have been perceived as a threat for the soldiers at that time seems to have been the “madman”, who was located in the opposite direction to the journalists.Were Abu Zahra and his colleague clearly identifiable?The various witnesses concurred in saying that Dahla, who was wounded at the same time and in the same place as Abu Zahra, was wearing clothes that clearly identified him as a journalist. In various photos and in the video, one can see the word “Press” on both the front and the back of the bullet-proof vest Dahla was wearing.”I had only taken one picture when I got shot. One bullet hit the ground and ricocheted into my lower leg, and then two bullets hit Imad, 250 mm calibre. We were wearing bulletproof vests, both of them saying “Press” on the front and back. After Imad got shot, he took the vest off. I don’t know what happened to it.” (Said Dahla)Whereas it has been established that Dahla was wearing a bullet-proof vest marked “Press”, the facts are much less clear in Abu Zahra’s case. Was he wearing a bullet-proof vest? Just a vest marked “Press”? Was he carrying a camera? The testimonies are at variance. Abu Zahra’s mother said he left home without a bullet-proof vest but with his cameras.”Imad left the house at around 9:30 a.m. on the morning of the 11th. He was not wearing a bulletproof jacket as there was no curfew. He was carrying two cameras, one around his neck.” (Imad’s mother)In fact, Abu Zahra had neither a helmet nor a bullet-proof vest. Like many Palestinian journalists working for local news media, he could not afford this kind of costly equipment. Only Dahla states that both of them had bullet-proof vests. Yet, Abu Zahra’s bullet-proof vest was not found at the scene.”We arrived at the scene 10 minutes after Said and Imad were hit. I saw Said’s brother’s camera. I did not see Imad’s camera or his bulletproof vest.” (Ali Samoudi)Moreover, neither the video nor the photos show that Abu Zahra was identifiable as a journalist. There is just one photo (See photo No. 2) that raises the possibility of a vest marked “Press”. In it, there is a young man called Mir’i Qabbha helping Abu Zahra, and one can make out something in his hands that could be a vest. In the video, this same young man is seen carrying a bag which he says contained Abu Zahra’s photographic equipment.”Imad was bleeding copiously and breathing with difficulty. I tried to take off his jacket and shirt, but he only let me take off his jacket. The jacket was an ordinary one with “TV” in large letters on it. I threw it to the ground, and paid no further attention to it. I only took his bag which contained the equipment.” (Mir’i)So in this version, it was just an ordinary vest, not a bullet-proof one.In the same way, the testimonies vary as regards the photographic equipment. According to his mother, Abu Zahra left home with two cameras, one around his neck and the other in a special bag. Dahla’s father, for his part, said Abu Zahra had a small pocket camera. It was brought to him after the shooting, covered in blood, but no film was found inside. He said he gave it to someone to take to Abu Zahra’s parents. The latter, however, insist that the two cameras disappeared and that no one brought them back to them.No camera was found on the scene, whether on the street or in the recess where Abu Zahra took refuge. It therefore is hard to know whether Abu Zahra was really in possession of one or several cameras at the time of the incident.Several witnesses said the two journalists were standing near each other when the shooting started. It is not known exactly how near, but they were no more than a few metres apart.”My son Said was with Imad and they were standing in the street, about 15 metres away from the tanks to photograph them, and to show them that they were press. If they had hidden, it might have seemed suspicious, as quite often people throw rocks from hiding places. The tanks fired at them, Said fell to the ground. I am not sure if Imad was wearing a bulletproof vest.” (Said’s father)”When the tanks arrived, I went across the street to meet Imad.” (Said Dahla, see photo) Was an ambulance prevented from getting to the two injured journalists?A Red Crescent ambulance driver called Hizan said he received an emergency call reporting that two persons had sustained bullet injuries. Two ambulances were already circulating in the town, but neither was near the scene at the moment Abu Zahra was hit. Hizan began heading towards King Faisal street but on the way he was told the two victims had already been brought to the hospital. Hizan then went straight to the hospital, where he found the two men, five or 10 minutes after receiving the call.The video shows the injured Abu Zahra being taken away in a yellow Palestinian taxi, which leaves by reversing down a side road at right angles to the street where the tanks are still located and where one can still hear shooting.According to Hizan, his ambulance was not prevented from going to the scene because it had already turned back in order to go directly to the hospital. In that case, why did the Israeli army officially recognize that an ambulance was refused permission to go to the scene because of the “exchange of fire” ? (Statement taken from report by Gideon Levy in Haaretz dated 26 July 2002)It is impossible to reach a decision on the issue of ambulance access to the injured. Was it because taxi transportation was available more promptly or because the shooting by the army lasted so long that Abu Zahra was not immediately evacuated by ambulance?To judge aboved all from what the doctors say, the probable duration of the events – from the start of the shooting that wounded the two journalists until their arrival at the nearby hospital – was between 10 and 15 minutes. They say it could not have been more than 20 minutes because otherwise Abu Zahra would not have survived his injuries and would have died in the street. If the doctor and ambulance driver are to be believed, it is unlikely if not impossible that the duration of the events was as long as Dahla and his father report. It is not unusual that this kind of experience seems subjectively to last longer than it actually does. The video shows that the shooting continued this long, although it is impossible to tell from the video where the shots are coming from or in what direction they are being fired. The shooting could have prevented people who had come to evacuate the injured from acting more promptly. The wound was very serious and Imad Abu Zahra might have died anyway. However, doctors could not say with any certainty.The successive reactions of the Israeli armyAn Israeli army spokesman told Reuters on 11 July that soldiers opened fire after two armoured vehicles broke down as a result of hitting an electricity pole, thereby drawing a crowd of armed, angry Palestinians. “The crowd threw stones, petrol bombs and fruit at the vehicles, and armed men also fired on them”, he said. “Our troops had no choice but to fire back.”The next day, a spokesperson told Agence France-Presse that an enquiry was under way to determine whether a journalist’s death was linked to these events.The same day, an Israeli military source told the Associated Press that it was unclear whether the army had hit anyone during these exchanges of fire. He added that it was possible that the photographer was killed by Palestinian fire.In a statement to the daily Haaretz, a spokesperson gave the following version: “On July 11, an APC entered Jenin following a terrorist alert. During the pursuit the APC accidentally crashed into a pole and became stuck. Palestinians were throwing Molotov cocktails, stones and various other objects at the APC. Shots were then fired in the direction of the APC. The soldiers retaliated with persistent fire toward the source of the shooting and then fired a warning shot in the air. During the exchange of fire, the entry of an ambulance was delayed. Once the firing stopped, the ambulance was allowed to enter.” (Statement taken from report by Gideon Levy in Haaretz dated 26 July 2002)On 19 August, following repeated requests by Reporters Without Borders and Damocles Network, the army gave an official reaction. The entire statement follows:”On 11 July 2002, an armoured vehicle entered Jenin in search of a terrorist who was reported to be in the area. During the search operation, the armoured vehicle collided with an electricity post and was immobilized. Palestinian rioters used this as an opportunity to throw Molotov Cocktails, stones and other objects at the vehicle. Immediately thereafter, shots were fired at the vehicle. The IDF soldiers fired warning shots into the air and then returned the rioters’ fire. Due to the continued exchange of fire, an ambulance could not access the scene. Consequently, the first wounded individual was evacuated via a Palestinian taxicab and later transferred to an ambulance. A videotape delivered to the IDF depicts the unpleasantness of this operation, but sheds no new light on the incident. The videotape does not identify the wounded individual as a media person, who clearly was not wearing a bulletproof vest. The IDF, in the framework of its war against terrorism, is required to deal daily with complicated and difficult situations. The presence of media crews in the midst of combat zones increases the complexity. Despite this, the IDF does its utmost to avoid inflicting harm on media personnel to allow reliable and open mediacoverage.” (Public Relations Branch of the IDF, Israeli Defense Forces)ConclusionsIt has proved difficult to establish the facts because of the lack of a detailed version from the Israeli authorities and the differences as regards some of the elements in the testimonies obtained. Nonetheless, the following conclusions can be drawn:- The shots that hit the journalists were Israeli.- The curfew had been lifted for the day in Jenin on 11 July. At around 2:00-2:30 pm when Abu Zahra and Dahla were hit by gunfire, no clash had taken place in the street where they were located. At this time, just before or just after the first shots, a mentally retarded person was in the street, provoking the tanks by throwing objects at them. However, he was located in the opposite direction to the journalists.- There are no grounds for affirming that Abu Zahra was identifiable as a journalist when he was injured. On the other hand he was accompanied, just a few metres away, by Dahla who was wearing a bullet-proof vest with the word “Press” on the front and back.- There are no grounds for claiming that the shots were fired with the intention of killing the two men. On the other hand, there is no doubt that they were fired in their direction, at least with the intention of intimidating them. But why intimidate them? The two civilians, of whom one was clearly identifiable as a journalist, posed no danger to the tanks.- It cannot be said that an ambulance was prevented from reaching the scene. On the other hand, one can say that the shooting continued from the moment they were injured until a taxi took them to hospital. – We can justifiably question how serious and motivated the Israeli army was about the investigation which it claims to have begun the next day. We have established that none of the witnesses was questioned in the course of its enquiries. The investigation was conducted in a manner that was, at the very least, superficial and contrasts with the very fast follow-up to the incident involving two Israeli journalists and an Israeli human rights activist in Tulkarem on 11 August. In this incident, a taxi carrying three persons, including editorialist Gideon Levy of the daily Haaretz, was hit by bullets in the town of Tulkarem, then under curfew. None of the occupants was wounded. Nonetheless, the army announced the next day that suspended sentences of 35 days arrest and 21 days imprisonment had been imposed on asoldier and an officer respectively.RecommendationsAs a result of this enquiry and the conclusions which the two organisations have drawn, Reporters Without Borders and Damocles Network address the following recommendations to the Israeli authorities:1) They should publish the results of the enquiry which they claim to have conducted into the fatal injuries sustained by Imad Subhi Abu Zahra. Once responsibility has been assigned, it needs to be made known to the public, and especially to the military, as such information can play a preventive role. The Israeli authorities gave Reporters Without Borders a specific undertaking on this point. “We intend to make the conclusions available once the verification work is completed, and after the findings have been communicated to the main people concerned (the journalists who were victims, the media they worked for, the Foreign Press Association…).” (Taken from Reporters Without Borders report, “Case Study of 45 Journalists Injured by Bullets in the Occupied Territories from 29 September 2000”, of August 2001)2) The Israeli enquiry into the fatal shooting of Abu Zahra should include the case of his colleague Said Dahla, who was wounded in the same place at the same time.3) If the responsibility of Israeli army members is established, sanctions must be adopted. These sanctions must be applied to the soldier who had recourse to force that was excessive in relation to the threat, and to the officer in charge. Assurances were also given on this point: “It goes without saying that if, after verification of the facts, it is established that a member of the Israeli forces injured a journalist, the authority in charge of that person will impose the sanctions applicable under the relevant law and the regulations. However, the way that the error is treated and the evaluation of the extent of responsibility (the member of the relevant Israeli forces, their superiors… ) remains at the discretion of the administration to which it is responsible.” (Taken from Reporters Without Borders report, “Case Study of 45 Journalists Injured by Bullets in the Occupied Territories from 29 September 2000”, of August 2001)4) If sanctions are adopted, the Israeli authorities must make them public. The publicity given to these sanction would tend to discourage further cases of misconduct of this nature by the Israeli army. This is the only way to dispel the sense of impunity currently prevailing among the Israeli soldiers.5) The Israeli authorities must respect international humanitarian law concerning the conduct of hostilities. This entails distinguishing military targets from civilians, whatever the circumstances.6) As a matter of respect for international humanitarian law, the Israeli authorities must guarantee the Palestinian population access to humanitarian assistance as established in the IV Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. In particular, the authorities must not obstruct medical assistance for the wounded.esWitnesses on the spot :Said Dahla, photographer with WAFA (official Palestinian news agency), Palestinian (See location in the plan)”I was supposed to meet Imad between 2:30 and 3:00 pm. I was at the office on the other side of the street at the time. We were standing on the street facing the tanks and taking pictures. Imad with his camera and me with mine.We were waiting for the cannon of the tank to signal to us. If they point the cannon down, you have to stay away, if they point the cannon upwards to the sky, you have to leave the area. If they point the cannon up and down several times, you have to lift your shirt to show that you have no explosive belts or anything like that. If they do not give any signals, you are usually allowed to come real close to them.They did not give any signals. Nothing else was going on, nobody was throwing stones or anything like that. We were the only people on the street. I had taken only one picture when I was shot. Imad was shot right after. One bullet hit the ground and ricocheted into my lower leg, and then two bullets hit Imad, 250 mm calibre.I was wearing a bulletproof vest and so was Imad, both of them saying “PRESS” on the front and back. After Imad was shot, he took the vest off. I don’t know what happened to it. They were shooting at our feet, so we got down on the ground. I managed to get away and I saw Imad lying on the floor with his leg injured. After 30 minutes the internationals and Ali Samoudi came. Then my younger brother came to help Imad, and the IDF started shooting at us again.Imad was carrying a small camera in one hand and had another camera in his bag. Later some people came in to rescue us and took us to the hospital. I have no idea what happened to the camera. We were not working on a specific assignment. In all, it took Imad 15 minutes to get from the market street to the hiding place around the corner, where I and Imad stayed another 10minutes before we got out and into the taxi which drove us to the hospital.” June 3, 2021 Find out more Dahla’s father, the owner of a taxi company in Jenin (See location on the plan)”I was at my office, one floor above the market where I run a taxi-company. At around 2:00 pm, through my office window, I saw people running away from the market. Within a couple of minutes the marketplace was empty. Three tanks came rolling through the streets. Up to that moment there was no shooting. My son Said was with Imad and they were standing in the street, about 15 metres away from the tanks to photograph them, and to show them that they were press. If they had hidden, it might have seemed suspicious, as quite often people throw rocks from hiding places. The tanks fired at them, Said fell to the ground. I am not sure if Imad was wearing a bulletproof vest. Imad was taking pictures with a small camera that was given back to his parents. There was no film in the camera. The IDF did not take the film out of the camera, they never came near. Said was able to get to the corner of the street and hid in a door opening, but Imad could not move. About 15 minutes after they were shot, Imad also managed to drag himself to the hiding place around the corner. He had not been able to do that until then because of the constant shooting. Ten to 20 minutes later a taxicab came to take them to the hospital. I had called the Red Crescent several times, but I could not get through. Approximately 25 to 35 minutes transpired between Said and Imad getting shot and their being brought to the hospital. During this process there was constant firing from the tanks.” RSF asks ICC prosecutor to say whether Israeli airstrikes on media in Gaza constitute war crimes WhatsApp blocks accounts of at least seven Gaza Strip journalists The C.V.Personal Details:Name: Imad Subhi Abu ZahrahI.D Card No: 96595083Date of birth: 20/07/1967Present address: Jaffa-Jerusalem-RamallahPermanent address: Jenin-Easrnpart-AL Madares StTel/Fax: 04-2414022, 04-2439893Mobile: 050240646E-mail: [email protected]: 1990: General Secondary Certificate 1991: One Semester in Bethlehem University in Hotel Management 1997: Diploma in Written Journalism from Media Center in Birziet University 1998-1999: Attending a Radio Diploma course in the same center. Preparing to take an M.A in Mass Communication with Leicester in University, after I’ve been accepted. (My long experience was considered instead of having B.A degree)Employment Experience: Since 1991: Working in journalism field, in reporting, photographing, analyzing, editing and writing articles for local Newspapers, magazines and association. 1991-1992: Working as a reporter in ‘Koll Elarab’ weekly Newspaper 1995-1997: Administrating an office for journalism, Information and Advertisement “Anakheel”, licensed by Media Ministry 1997: Producing weekly Newspaper named “Jenin” licensed by Media Ministry 1997: Establishing FM radio station in Jenin called “Al-Ahlam” licensed by the Media Ministry and working as programme manager and editor 1998: Working as Part time teacher of Hebrew and also translator Hebrew-Arabic. 1999-2001: Working as a freelance journalist with local Newspapers & Magazines. With experience in women’s issues through interviews & reports for women’s association.Languages:Arabic: reading, speaking, writing excellentEnglish: reading, speaking, writing very goodHebrew: reading, speaking, writing very goodFrench: French courses in ” The French Culture Center “P.S: Moving freely from and to all Israeli territories.Medical reportPalestinian National Authority, Ministry of Health, Martyr Dr. Khalil S. HospitalDate: 22/07/2002 Imad Subhi Abu Zahra, 34 years oldTo Whom It May ConcernThe afore-mentioned patient was brought to our hospital emergency room on 11/07/2002 after he was shot in the right thigh, as stated. On arrival at the emergency room he was in a shock state as he had lost almost all his blood. Unrecordable blood pressure. He was taken to the operation theatre urgently.On arrival at thetheatre, the pt. was arrested and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation was done for about 10 minutes until the heart rate was resumed again and the operation was conducted. During the operation the following was found : about 15X7 cm entrance wound at the middle third of the medial side at the right thigh and about 6 cm loss of the femoral artery at the adducter canal. The bullet was removed from the posterior aspect of the thigh. Repair of the artery was done using the left saphenous vein. He was taken to the ICU post operatively. During the operation he was transfused 8 units of blood and 10 lit R/L. The blood pressure and pulse rate kept on swinging until 4 am The next day. During that time he was transfused 4 units of blood, 4 units of plasma and 5 liters of R/L and N/S.At 8:30 am the pt. was arrested suddenly and CPR was conducted for over 20minutes but it was all in vain. Death was declared at 9:00 am, 12/07/2002.Dr Nihal Sawalha 22/7/2002- The report in .pdf file Mir’i Hussein Mahmoud Khadir Qabha, Palestinian student, aged 17 (See location in the plan. This testimony was obtained on 20 July by Roula Haddad, Reporters Without Borders correspondent in the territories under the Palestinian Authority)”On Thursday 11 July, after the curfew was lifted, I went to King Faisal street. I was standing outside a shop of a friend of mine, when I saw Said Dahla and Imad Abu Zahra in the area. I knew them to be journalists as they were always there in the field filming. Suddenly we were surprised by the entrance of the IDF tanks into the street in the middle of the city. It was peaceful. Imad and Said approached by the opposite street to where the tanks were to take some photos. Without warning, the soldiers in the tank opened fire in the direction of the journalists. Both of them had cameras and were wearing jackets with “PRESS” written on them. Both of them were injured in the legs. Said managed to run and hid behind a building, but Imad fell to the ground, unable to move. People wanted to help but wwwere prevented because the soldiers kept firing. The soldiers even prevented an ambulance from coming to help the injured. Imad was calling for help. I ran to him, took him by the arms and was able to drag him somewhere out of the reach of the gunfire. Said was struck by a bullet as he tried to help Imad, but the bulletproof vest saved him. Imad was bleeding copiously and breathing wwith difficulty. I tried to take off his jacket and shirt, but he only let me take off his jacket. The jacket was an ordinary one with “TV” in large letters on it. I threw it to the ground, and paid no further attention to it. I only took his bag which contained the equipment. Then we moved to a nearby building to wait for a car to take him to the hospital. After about 20-30 minutes, a taxi arrived from the opposite side, where there were no soldiers or tanks, and took him and Said to the hospital. All the time we were waiting for the taxi, he was begging me to help and to stay with him. He held me tight, crying that he couldn’t breathe. He was very frightened. I stayed with him at the hospital until his mother came.”Reuters cameraman Ali Samoudi, Tobias Karlsson, a Swedish observer, and Pete Blacker, a British observer. The three men arrived on the scene shortly after Abu Zahra and Dahla were hit (See location in the plan)Ali Samoudi, Reuters cameraman “We were driving along the street when we saw the tanks and, shortly after, the trail of blood that led to the hiding place of Imad and Said. A 13-year-old boy was in there with them trying to help them. We arrived at the scene 10 minutes after Said and Imad were hit. I saw Said’s brother’s camera. I did not see Imad’s camera or his bulletproof vest. After people around the area heard that some journalists were hit they started to throw rocks and watermelons at the tanks. When we arrived no one was throwing stones.”Pete Blacker, international observer with International Solidarity Movement (ISM)”We arrived at the scene approximately 30 seconds after we heard the first round of shots and then saw the trail of blood, and found Imad and Said hiding away.”Tobias Karlsson, international observer with International Solidarity Movement (ISM)”We are pretty sure that it was the first salvo that hit them because he had six inches of vein ripped away and by the time we found him he was still bleeding and there was nobody applying pressure to the wound. He was still conscious and could walk.”Linus Gardell and Mohamed Loubany, two international aid volunteers, were present throughout the incident but on the other side of the street (See location in the plan) IsraelMiddle East – North Africa August 28, 2002 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Enquiry into the death of Palestinian journalist Imad Abu Zahracenter_img Follow the news on Israel News News Help by sharing this information RSF_en News IsraelMiddle East – North Africa May 28, 2021 Find out more to go further Reports May 16, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more