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Palestinian journalists assaulted by Israeli forces in separate incidents

(MADA/IFEX) - 31 May 2010 - The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) strongly condemns the Israeli attack against the international "fleet of freedom", while it attempted to break the blockade on the Gaza Strip, early on the morning of 31 May 2010. According to many sources, about 16 persons were killed and dozens were wounded. The six ships and its passengers, including press crews, were forced into the port of Ashdod.

MADA also condemns the Israeli authorities for imposing restrictions on media outlets and preventing them from covering the attack on the ships, which made adequate news coverage of the incident impossible. MADA also holds the Israeli occupation forces responsible for the press crews' safety. It urges the authorities not to hurt them and calls for their immediate release.

In separate incidents, the Israeli occupation authorities continue their attacks on Palestinian journalists; they attacked WAFA agency photographer Ayman Nubani on 29 May. The incident took place while he was covering the Oraq Burin weekly march near Nablus city. Nubani said that he was standing with a group of journalists away from the Israeli army and the demonstrators and after a while the Israeli army threw tear gas grenades at the journalists. Nubani was injured by one of them on his left leg, and he fell to the ground, burning his back and leg in the process.

The Israeli occupation forces and the settlers also attacked Palestine TV cameraman Nader Baybres in Silwan town near Jerusalem. Baybres said that on 29 May at 10:00 p.m. he went to cover clashes between settlers and Palestinian youth in Silwan. One of the settlers threw a large stone at his head. His helmet was broken by the impact and he sustained bruises to his neck; his camera was also broken. After that, the Israeli security forces beat him.

MADA demands that the international community act immediately to release the activists and journalists who were on the ships, especially those that are wounded. It also calls on the international community to punish Israel for its continued violations of human rights in general, and media freedoms in particular.

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