Ain Media, the production company which was cofounded by Yaser Murtaja, refuted claims by Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman that the journalist was operating a camera drone when he was targeted by Israeli forces near Gaza’s border fence on Friday, Shehab.ps reported yesterday.
The media company said that Murtaja was using a handheld camera and wearing a blue flak jacket with the word “PRESS” printed on it when he was targeted.
“The Israeli occupation forces bear full responsibility for targeting Yaser, who was wearing a helmet and a protective vest marked ‘PRESS’, clearly identifying him as a journalist,” a statement released by the company said.
One of the company’s producers, Rushdi Al-Sarraj, published a photograph of Murtaja taken moments before he was shot by an Israeli sniper. In it, Murtaja can be seen holding a camera and taking pictures of the protests during what has been dubbed as the Friday of Tyres.
Murtaja was hit in his abdomen on Friday afternoon and remained in intensive care until Saturday when he was pronounced dead.
In response, Israel’s Defence Minister Lieberman said: “Anyone who operates drones above IDF soldiers needs to understand he’s putting himself in danger.”
Ain Media stressed that “the crimes of the occupation will not silence the voice of truth and will not intimidate free journalists wherever they are”.