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Israel strike kills two reporters, third person in Lebanon - media, PM

Earlier today, an Israeli air strike hit southern Lebanon killing Al-Mayadeen TV journalists Farah Omar and Rabih Al-Maamri. Al-Mayadeen mourned the late colleagues on air and aired their final coverage.

November 21, 2023 at 4:30 pm

An Israeli strike killed two journalists working for a Lebanese TV channel and a third person near the border with Israel on Tuesday, Lebanese state media and the channel, Al Mayadeen, said.

The deaths add to a toll of more than 50 journalists killed, covering the war between Israel and Palestine, and its spill-over to other parts of the region since 7 October, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Most of those have been killed in the Gaza Strip, which Israel bombarded and invaded after Palestinian group, Hamas, waged a deadly assault against Israelis.

Violence along Lebanon’s border with Israel broke out after Hamas’s 7 October attack. Israel and Lebanese group, Hezbollah – a Hamas ally – have fired rockets at each other in fighting that has steadily escalated.

Al Mayadeen said the Israeli strike on Tuesday near the town of Tir Harfa, about a mile from the Israeli frontier, had deliberately targeted the TV crew because the channel was known to be pro-Palestinian and pro-Iran’s regional military alliance.

READ: Israel army shells church in southern Lebanon

Lebanon’s caretaker, Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, said in a statement that the strike was an Israeli attempt to silence the media, adding there were “no limits to Israeli crimes”.

Israel’s military said it was “aware of a claim regarding journalists … who were killed as a result of (Israeli army) fire.

“This is an area with active hostilities, where exchanges of fire occur. Presence in the area is dangerous,” it said.

The Israeli military has previously said it cannot guarantee journalists’ safety in areas where it is fighting.

A second Israeli strike on a car about seven miles (11 km) from the border and near the southern Lebanese city of Tyre killed four people later in the day, the state news agency reported. It did not give details.

Hezbollah said it had retaliated over the killing of the journalists by firing at an Israeli base across the border.

Fighting between Israel and Hezbollah broke out along the border after Hamas launched its attack on Israel on 7 October.

The Hamas attack killed 1,200 Israelis, according to Israeli tallies. Israel, in response, has bombarded and invaded the Gaza Strip, killing at least 13,300 people according to the Gaza government.

Israel-Lebanon border violence has escalated, 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 at the border since Israel and Hezbollah fought a war in 2006 and has, so far, killed more than 70 Hezbollah fighters, 13 Lebanese civilians, seven Israeli troops and three Israeli civilians.

Al Mayadeen named its killed journalists as Farah Omar, a correspondent, and Rabie Al-Memari, a camera operator.

The third person killed in the strike was Hussein Aqil, who was at the site where the crew was filming. Al Mayadeen told Reuters he was not working with the channel.

READ: US concerned at Israel manufacturing pretext for war with Hezbollah