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Seven journalists assaulted in Jerusalem and Hebron

(MADA/IFEX) - 6 March 2010 - The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) condemns renewed attacks by Israeli forces on journalists in the West Bank. On 5 March, six journalists were attacked while covering clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian demonstrators in Jerusalem and Hebron. They are AP photographer Mahfouz Abu Turk, "Al-Quds" newspaper photographer Mahmoud Alian, European Agency for Press Photography (EPA) photographer Abdel-Hafiz Hashlamoun, "Palmedia" cameraman Abdul Ghani Natshe, Quds TV correspondent Akram Natshe, and Palestinian Public TV cameraman Mohamed Hmeidat. Agence France Press photographer Ahmad Gharabli was injured by a stone thrown by a Palestinian youth.

Abu Turk said that he was covering clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli security forces in the courtyard of the Al-Aqsa Mosque when he was hit by a rubber bullet at the top of his right leg. A rubber bullet also hit the camera lens and broke it, and a third bullet hit the spare lens, which was in his pocket. He said, "Obviously they were firing at me deliberately, and a police officer tried to grab my camera, but I allowed him to do so, and I moved elsewhere."

Alian said that he was wounded by a rubber bullet in his right leg in the Al-Aqsa courtyard, and was treated at the scene.

Gharabli said that he was wounded in the head by a stone thrown by a young Palestinian during the confrontations.

Hashlamoun said that he was covering clashes near the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, when soldiers beat him and pushed him into a nearby wall, breaking his camera. "They tried to stop us from covering the clashes between Israeli forces and young people, where soldiers have launched sound and tear gas bombs."

Abdul Ghani Natshe said that he was doing a stand for Quds TV correspondent Akram Natshe near the Ibrahimi Mosque. He said, "A group of soldiers attacked us, beat us with their hands and kicked us when we fell to the ground, then they expelled us and other journalists from where we were reporting."

Palestine Public TV cameraman Mohammed Hmeidat, who was also at the scene, said that the soldiers beat him with their hands and kicked him and they pulled him away from the scene. "They were deliberately insulting us and causing us harm. I still have difficulty sitting due to the effects of the beating."

MADA considers the targeting and abuse of journalists to be a flagrant violation of freedom of expression, and calls upon the international community to exercise pressure on Israel to stop the continuing attacks on journalists.

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