BEIRUT, Nov 21 (Reuters) – An Israeli strike killed two journalists working for a Lebanese television channel and a third person near the border with Israel on Tuesday, Lebanese state media and the Al Mayadeen channel reported.
The deaths add to the toll of more than 50 journalists killed covering the war between Israel and Hamas and its repercussions on other parts of the region since October 7, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Most of them were killed in the Gaza Strip, which Israel bombed and invaded after the Palestinian militant group Hamas carried out a deadly attack on Israelis.
Violence erupted along the border between Lebanon and Israel following the Hamas attack on October 7. Israel and the Lebanese group Hezbollah, supported by Iran – an ally of Hamas – have fired rockets at each other in fighting which continues to intensify.
Al Mayadeen said Tuesday’s Israeli strike near the town of Tir Harfa, about a mile from the Israeli border, deliberately targeted the television crew because the channel was known to be pro-Palestinian and pro-Iran , regional military alliance.
Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said in a statement that the strike was an Israeli attempt to silence the media, adding that there were “no limits to Israeli crimes.”
The Israeli military said it was “aware of an allegation regarding journalists… who were killed as a result of (Israeli army) fire.”
“This is an area where hostilities are active, where exchanges of fire are taking place. Presence in the area is dangerous,” he added.
The Israeli military has previously said it cannot guarantee the safety of journalists in areas where it is fighting.
A second Israeli strike on a car about 11 km from the border and near the southern Lebanese city of Tire killed four people later in the day, the state news agency reported. He did not give details.
Hezbollah said it responded to the killing of the journalists by firing on an Israeli base across the border.
Fighting between Israel and Hezbollah broke out along the border after Hamas launched its attack on Israel on October 7.
The Hamas attack killed 1,200 Israelis, according to Israeli figures. In response, Israel bombed and invaded the Gaza Strip, killing at least 13,300 people according to the Hamas-led Gaza government.
Violence on the Israeli-Lebanese border has intensified, raising Western fears of a widening war in the Middle East that could draw in both the United States and Iran.
It is the worst violence on the border since the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah which has so far killed more than 70 Hezbollah fighters, 13 Lebanese civilians, seven Israeli soldiers and three Israeli civilians.
Al Mayadeen named the slain journalists as Farah Omar, correspondent, and Rabie al-Memari, cameraman.
The third person killed in the attack was Hussein Aqil, who was at the site where the crew was filming. Al Mayadeen told Reuters he did not work with the channel.
Reporting by John Davison, Jana Choukeir; Editing by Andrew Heavens, Alex Richardson and Nick Macfie
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