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Reporters assaulted by Israeli settlers; two journalists summoned in Gaza

(MADA/IFEX) - The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) condemned an attack by a group of Israeli settlers on Agence France Presse (AFP) photographer Jaafar Ishtiyeh and Ayman Al-Numbani, a correspondent for WAFA News Agency. The incident occurred on the evening of 26 July 2010 in Burin village, near the city of Nablus on the West Bank.

Ishtiyeh said that he went to the area to cover clashes between Burin villagers and Israeli settlers, after the settlers set fire to crops on the village lands. While he was standing with his colleague Al-Numbani, a group of settlers threw stones at them. They suffered bruises and wounds all over their bodies.

In a separate development, the Internal Security of the dismissed government in Gaza summoned WAFA news agency correspondent Hussam Almughani on 25 July. Similarly, Atef Abu Seif of "Siyasat" magazine was summoned on 21 July. MADA condemned the summons.

According to a WAFA statement, on 25 July Almughani was summoned by the Internal Security in Abu Khadra for an investigation. He was detained for six hours, during which time he was insulted and subjected to harsh treatment. He was released but told to return to the Internal Security headquarters on 28 July. Almughani could not be contacted by MADA's legal advisor, who was informed that the authorities confiscated the WAFA correspondent's computer and cell phone.

Abu Seif told MADA's legal advisor in Gaza that at 10:00 AM on 21 July he went to the Internal Security headquarters in Jabalya upon receipt of a summons request. Upon his arrival at the center, he was blindfolded and put in a prison cell. Members of the security forces then ordered him to stand in a queue with other people that he did not know. One of the security officers beat one of the detainees, and then asked Abu Seif, "Why you are laughing?" Abu Seif replied, "I do not laugh at people who are being beaten."

The security officer then beat Abu Seif. The journalist was brought back to the prison cell, where he was detained until 9:00 PM. He was released but ordered to return at 8:00 AM on 22 July. Abu Seif said, "The next day, I was detained from 8:00 AM until 11:00 AM and I was blindfolded. No one questioned me, but I was released and told to come back on 26 July."

MADA's lawyer tried to contact Abu Seif on 26 and 27 July but to no avail.

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