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Lebanon mourns two journalists killed in Israel air strike

November 22, 2023 at 4:40 pm

Relatives of the killed journalists cry as the dead bodies are brought to Beirut, Lebanon on November 21, 2023 [Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency]

Hundreds of mourners paid their respects in Beirut, on Wednesday, to two reporters working for pan-Arab station, Al Mayadeen, who were killed the previous day in an Israeli air strike on south Lebanon, Reuters reports.

The crowds gathered around the two coffins of correspondent, Farah Omar, and camera operator Rabih Al-Maamari, both draped in Lebanese flags and topped with wreaths of flowers, outside the Al Mayadeen headquarters in Beirut.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said the deaths added to a toll of over 50 journalists killed covering the Israel-Palestine war in Gaza and its spill-over to other regions including the Lebanon-Israel border area, where Israeli and Lebanese Hezbollah forces have been exchanging fire since 7 October.

Al Mayadeen accused Israel of deliberately targeting the TV crew because the Channel was known to be pro-Palestinian and supportive of Iran’s regional military alliance, which includes Gaza’s ruling Hamas Movement.

Caretaker Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, on Wednesday called the killing of the two journalists an “assassination”.

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 exchange of fire occur. Presence in the area is dangerous”.

Al Mayadeen said the Israeli strike occurred near the town of Tayr Harfa, about a mile from the Israeli frontier. A third person, who was not working with the Channel but was accompanying them as they filmed, was also killed.

Wednesday marked 80 years since Lebanon’s independence from France. In a written statement, veteran Parliament Speaker, Nabih Berri said: “On independence day this year, minutes or even eternities of silence are not enough to mourn” the two Al Mayadeen reporters and others killed by Israel’s military.

Caretaker Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, on Wednesday called the killing of the two journalists an “assassination”.

The Israeli military has previously said it cannot guarantee journalists’ safety in areas of military activity.

Israeli authorities have sought to block Al Mayadeen’s websites and seize equipment linked to the station.

On 13 November, pan-Arab network Al-Jazeera said one of its crew members was lightly wounded in Israeli shelling on the border town of Yaroun.

WATCH: Israel strike kills two reporters, third person in Lebanon – media, PM