Sunday, June 23, 2024

Israeli Forces Detain and Assault Al Jazeera Reporter in Gaza Hospital


Ismail al-Ghoul, an Al Jazeera Arabic correspondent, was apprehended and brutally assaulted by Israeli forces at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

On Monday morning, al-Ghoul and his team, along with other journalists, were present to report on the Israeli army’s fourth incursion into the hospital. The facility is currently a refuge for thousands of civilians, including healthcare workers, patients, and families who have been displaced.

According to onlookers, Israeli forces forcibly removed the Al Jazeera journalist and proceeded to demolish the news teams’ broadcast vehicles at the healthcare center. The hospital, being the most extensive in the Gaza Strip, has been a hub for reporters covering Israel’s ongoing conflict with the Palestinian territory, which has lasted over five months.

Hani Mahmoud of Al Jazeera, reporting from Rafah, stated that al-Ghoul and a member of his team were “subjected to physical abuse, assault, and detention by the Israeli military”.

Video Source: Al Jazeera official Youtube Channel

Mahmoud, citing eyewitness accounts, reported that numerous Palestinians were subjected to physical and verbal mistreatment, with some being blindfolded and their hands bound behind them. They were subsequently loaded into an Israeli military vehicle and transported to an undisclosed location.

The Ministry of Health in Gaza stated that Israeli forces initiated missile attacks and gunfire on a building within the hospital, resulting in Palestinian casualties. Additionally, a portion of the hospital’s courtyard was razed.

Mahmoud also noted that over 80 other Palestinians were detained by Israeli forces, including female healthcare workers and journalists.

“Mahmoud stated that the Israeli army has made several claims about searching for individuals of interest within the complex, but has yet to present any substantial evidence to justify the actions taking place within al-Shifa.

Israel has consistently asserted that Hamas, the Palestinian armed group in control of the besieged Gaza Strip, has reassembled within al-Shifa and is utilizing it as a base for launching attacks against Israel.

Mansour Shouman, a citizen journalist who has covered events from both al-Shifa and Nasser Hospital in southern Gaza, likened the hospitals in the region to ‘small towns’ where journalists are striving to broadcast news globally.

Shouman informed Al Jazeera that hospitals are among the few locations equipped with generators, which are crucial for maintaining internet connectivity.”

In a sequence of ‘systematic assaults’

The Al Jazeera Media Network has called for the immediate liberation of al-Ghoul and his fellow journalists who were apprehended with him, as stated in a declaration.

The network, which is based in Qatar, has declared that it holds the Israeli military entirely accountable for their well-being.

“The Network underscores that this targeting is a tactic of intimidation against journalists, aimed at discouraging them from reporting the appalling atrocities committed by the occupying forces against innocent civilians in Gaza,” read the statement.

It further stated that the “targeting” of al-Ghoul forms part of a sequence of “systematic attacks on Al Jazeera”, which includes the killings of seasoned Al Jazeera journalists Shireen Abu Akleh, Samer Abu Daqqa, and Hamza Dahdouh, as well as the bombing of its Gaza office.

Video Source: Al Jazeera official Youtube Channel

The arrest of al-Ghoul has been denounced by both the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the International Press Institute (IPI).

Jodie Ginsberg, the CEO of the CPJ, expressed to Al Jazeera that journalists are crucial in times of war, serving as our primary source of information. With each journalist that is arrested or killed, our comprehension of the situation in Gaza significantly decreases.

She described the current conflict as the most severe for journalists that the CPJ has ever recorded, and the circumstances are only deteriorating.

Scott Griffen, the IPI’s Deputy Director, voiced the organization’s deep concern over al-Ghoul’s arrest. He demanded al-Ghoul’s immediate release and accurate updates on his current condition.

Griffen pointed out that al-Ghoul’s detention exposes the dangers all journalists in Gaza face, especially considering the large number of them that have been killed by Israel during the war, with virtually no repercussions.

He emphasized that this not only endangers the lives of journalists striving to report the story, but it also hinders global audiences from learning the truth.

As per the CPJ’s records, since the commencement of the war on October 7, at least 95 journalists and media workers, predominantly Palestinians, have lost their lives.


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