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Israeli soldiers assault two Reuters cameramen
Published Friday 14/12/2012 (updated) 30/12/2012 13:47
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Palestinian girls walk between Israeli soldiers and stone-throwing
Palestinians (not in picture) during clashes in the West Bank city of
Hebron Dec. 13, 2012. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)
HEBRON (Reuters) -- Israeli soldiers punched two Reuters cameramen and forced them to strip in the street, before letting off a tear gas canister in front of them, leaving one of them needing hospital treatment.

Israel's military said on Thursday it took the allegations seriously, but offered no explanation for the assault that occurred on Wednesday evening in the heart of Hebron.

"The regional brigade commander was ordered to open an investigation," Israeli Defense Forces spokeswoman Avital Leibovich said in an email. No further information will be provided until the investigation is complete.

Yousri Al Jamal and Ma'amoun Wazwaz said a foot patrol stopped them as they were driving to a nearby checkpoint where a Palestinian teenager had just been shot dead by an Israeli border guard.

Their car was clearly marked 'TV' and they were both wearing blue flak jackets with 'Press' emblazoned on the front.

The soldiers forced them to leave the vehicle and punched them, striking them with the butts of their guns. They accused them of working for an Israeli NGO, B'Tselem, which documents human rights violations in the occupied West Bank, the Reuters cameramen said.

Locals say B'Tselem has given a number of Palestinians video cameras so they can film soldiers and settlers who live in this divided city. The NGO was not immediately available for comment.

The soldiers did not let the men produce their official ID papers and forced them to strip down to their underwear, making them kneel on the road with their hands behind their heads, the cameramen said.

Two other Palestinian journalists working for local news organizations, including a satellite television station affiliated to the Islamist group Hamas, were also stopped and forced to the ground.

One of the soldiers then dropped a tear gas canister between the men and the IDF patrol ran away. The four journalists scrambled clear and Jamal and Wazwaz got to their car, which had rapidly filled up with tear gas, they said.

They tried to drive away, but said they only got around 200 meters before they had to stop and exit the vehicle because of the choking gas. The soldiers then fired more tear gas in their direction.

Wazwaz was overcome by the fumes and was taken to hospital by ambulance. He was released later the same night.

The Israeli soldiers took two gas masks and a video camera from their car. The undamaged camera was later found abandoned further up the road.

"We deplore the mistreatment of our journalists and have registered our extreme dismay with the Israeli military authorities," said Stephen J. Adler, editor-in-chief of Reuters News.

Tensions have been running particularly high in Hebron in the past week following repeated clashes between stone-throwing youths and soldiers.

Muhammad al-Salameh, 17, was shot dead close to his house in the heart of Hebron on Wednesday by Israeli border guards at a nearby checkpoint. Israeli police said he had brandished a gun, which later proved to be a toy gun.

Some 800 Jewish settlers live among 30,000 Palestinians in the parts of the old city that are under Israeli control.
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1 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
14/12/2012 10:43
What ever happened to the Palestinian "policemen"(?) who shot and tried to kill the camera crew from Israel's Ch 2 tv news during the intifada? I don't recall seeing anything about a PA investigation or anybody being charged with attempted murder.

2 ) so brian? / gimme a break
14/12/2012 16:15
palestinians living under brutal occupation dont have the luxury of elaboarate investigations of violations against invaders....irahel being the biggest welfare recipient in the world does...two wrongs dont make a right but one may be forgiven....but not you

3 ) Robert / US
14/12/2012 16:35
Hey brian ,remember when an israeli tank/jets killed three reuters reporters a while back NO ? Go to youtube and type it in the search box. Clown

4 ) Reader / from Edmonton
14/12/2012 17:22
The brave Israeli soldiers were just following orders. They had been told to keep the media away from the murder scene until the checkpoint guards could fabricate their cover story. Standard Operating Procedure.

5 ) April / Worrying Trend
14/12/2012 17:45
This is not the first time IDF have attacked journalists, and apparently Israelis are happy they did so as they see Reuters as "anti-Israel." So, if you don't like what someone prints/publishes, abuse them! ? See the bloodthirsty comments on ynetnews.com - these folks are rabid!

6 ) FREE I / USA
14/12/2012 19:13
Zionist have alot 2 hide!!!!!

7 ) gabi / australia
15/12/2012 02:03
Brian Cohen - again we hear from you the tired "well they did it, so we can too." Pitiful.

8 ) Robert / US
15/12/2012 22:06
The idf are a bunch of pussies that have to" TERRORIZE" Inocent ,Harmless People

9 ) Malone / Hfx
16/12/2012 01:03
Do you gullible people believe every thing you read?..What is the source? It's a pal source,thus not credible..duh!

10 ) ian / australia
16/12/2012 02:05
#1 "I don't recall seeing anything about a PA investigation or anybody being charged with attempted murder." And the failings of other peoples' legal systems are relevant to Israel's legal system HOW exactly? I've already posted on how we find some of our Asian neighbours a bit brutal by Australian standards (caning with the fearsome rattan, spousal rape not a problem if wife over 13 in Brunei etc.) and how it has NO bearing on OUR legal standards. Isn't it the same for Israel? Aren't the

11 ) ian / australia
16/12/2012 02:06
(contd.) legal/moral failings of your neighbours irrelevant? Like Brunei's are to us. And isn't your post in fact a incredibly childish little whine? And a bit beneath you? Hmmm?

12 ) ian / australia
16/12/2012 02:28
Wow. Intense stuff. Reuters cameramen kneeling in their underwear. Punched and eaten with gun butts. Choked with tear gas. Cameras impounded. And a "regional brigade commander...ORDERED to open an investigation" into this inexpliable outburst of brutality! Seems there was something about the death scene of aspiring circus acrobat (and birthday boy) 17-year-old Muhammad Salaymah they REALLY didn't want the press finding out about.

13 ) diana Manley / England
22/12/2012 12:02
Re 12) ian -Why is none of this reported y the 'Free Press' here? Incredile that groups of people rise-up to defend indigenous people in the US. Australia etc. But there seems to be a blank gaze when defending the rights of the Palastinians- which should never have become so fractured in the first place - Creating danger to World Peace as US financially backs the extreme Zionists! Haven't Bankers of the World done enough damage?

14 ) Mel / USA
02/01/2013 16:37
Most of the young,naive,Israeli squad commanders ACTUALLY take their orders from the CIVILIAN "(illegal)settler security coordinators".The SSC's give the orders to the IOF boys,who end up PROTECTING Zionist vandals,during Jewish attacks on PAL residents.The settlers SPITon small PAL children,throw rocks at Arab WOMEN,CURSE them, SLAP them,&tell the IOF what to do,coz the Army&SSC's work together,despite the fact many Israeli soldiers HATE them &fear them,more than PALS!Read the testimonies books
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