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Four Palestinian journalists killed since the start of military operations in Gaza

(CPJ/IFEX) - The following is a 14 January 2009 CPJ press release:

Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory: Journalists killed in Gaza

New York, January 14, 2009 - The Committee to Protect Journalists mourns the death of four Palestinian journalists who have been killed since Israeli military operations began in Gaza on December 27. One journalist was fatally injured while working; three others were killed under unconfirmed circumstances.

"We mourn the loss of our four colleagues and extend our condolences to their families and coworkers," said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. "Their deaths highlight the risks journalists face in covering the ongoing conflict in Gaza."

Cameraman Basil Ibrahim Faraj was part of a four-member television crew that was injured when their car was hit in Gaza on December 27, according to local and international news reports. In correspondence with CPJ, the foreign press division of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Spokesperson's Unit did not confirm or deny targeting the building which Faraj was next to when he was hit.

Faraj, who suffered a severe head injury during the attack, slipped into a coma while being taken to al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City. He was later transferred to a different hospital in Egypt where he was pronounced dead on January 7, according to local and international news reports.

In separate incidents, three other journalists - Alaa Murtaja, Ihab al-Wahidi, and Omar Silawi - were killed by IDF attacks on January 9, 8, and 3, respectively. The exact circumstances of their deaths remain unclear, and CPJ continues to investigate.

The Committee to Protect Journalists is a New York-based, non profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to defending press freedom around the world.

For further information on the Faraj case:

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