Photographers' Blog

Reuters cameraman Fadel Shana killed in Gaza

April 17, 2008

For those who may have missed it, this is the Reuters story reporting the killing of Reuters cameraman Fadel Shana in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday. It is a tragic loss and I would like to add my condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

 Fadel 1

Reuters cameraman killed in Gaza 

By Nidal al-Mughrabi

GAZA (Reuters) – A Reuters cameraman was killed in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday in what appeared to be an Israeli military strike.

Fadel Shana, 23, was covering events in the enclave for the international news agency on a day of intense violence when 16 other Palestinians and three Israeli soldiers were also killed.

Two youths passing by died in the same explosion that killed Shana, witnesses said. The cameraman had stepped from his car to film an Israeli tank dug in several hundred meters (yards) away.

Video from Shana’s camera showed the tank opening fire. Two seconds after the shot raises dust around its gun, the tape goes blank — seemingly at the moment Shana was hit.

Reuters soundman Wafa Abu Mizyed, 25, sustained a shrapnel wound and was being treated in a Gaza hospital.

The Israeli army declined immediate comment on what caused Shana’s death. It expressed sorrow but also said journalists were putting their lives at risk in areas of combat.

The Reuters vehicle was an unarmored sport utility vehicle bearing “TV” and “Press” markings. The blast on a country back road left the car shattered and ablaze. Shana’s body amour had been partially torn off. Abu Mizyed had no recollection of the incident, which occurred in good light around 5 p.m. (1400 GMT).

An Israeli military spokeswoman, Major Avital Leibovich, said there had been clashes there throughout the day after the three Israeli troops had been killed overnight in the same area. 

A military official said: “We wish to express sorrow for the death of the Palestinian cameraman… It should be emphasized that the area in which the cameraman was hurt is an area in which ongoing fighting against armed, extreme and dangerous terrorist organizations occurs on a daily basis.”

“The presence of media, photographers and other uninvolved individuals in areas of warfare is extremely dangerous and poses a threat to their lives.”

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s spokesman said: “In our operations we try to be as surgical as possible and make every effort not to see innocent people caught up in the fighting.”

CALL FOR INVESTIGATION

Reuters Editor-in-Chief David Schlesinger called for an investigation: “This tragic incident shows the risks journalists take every day to report the news. All governments and organizations have a responsibility to take the utmost care to protect professionals trying to do their jobs,” he said.

“Our thoughts are with his family. We request an immediate investigation into the incident by the Israeli defense forces.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who was visiting Moscow, telephoned Reuters in Gaza to express his condolences.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Paris-based Reporters Without Borders mourned Shana’s death.

“We are asking the Israeli authorities to publicly commit to carrying out an exhaustive investigation into this incident and to make its findings public,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon in a statement. 

Shana, who had worked for Reuters in Gaza for more than three years, was wounded in 2006 when an Israeli aircraft fired a missile at a Reuters vehicle. That car also carried markings showing it was operated by the media organization.

Fadel

Shana, who was unmarried, was a gentle and popular figure among the 15-strong Reuters news team in the Gaza Strip. The bureau was honored by Britain’s Royal Television Society for its coverage of last year’s factional fighting in Gaza.

Hundreds of journalists and well-wishers flocked to the hospital where Shana’s body was taken. The family planned to hold a funeral on Thursday.

Journalists have become casualties on numerous occasions in the Palestinian territories. Media watchdogs estimate that nine have been killed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 2000.

An Israeli soldier shot a Reuters photographer in the leg in Gaza in October. Two Reuters journalists were wounded by an Israeli tank shell in the enclave in 2003.

Also in 2003, one of the most widely renowned Palestinian journalists to work for Reuters, television cameraman Mazen Dana, was shot dead by a U.S. soldier in Baghdad. Six other Reuters journalists have been killed in that conflict.

Comments
18 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Reuters cameraman killed after filming in Gaza, PEC and ICPJ condemn strongly
A specialized legal instrument could have helped Bilal Hussein during his two-year detention in Iraq by US forces
GENEVA, April 17 (PEC-ICPJ) – For the second consecutive time in less than 72 hours one journalist is released, the other killed, both in different countries.
The Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) and the International Covenant for the Protection of Journalists (ICPJ) while welcoming the release of Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein (36 years old), more than two years after he was detained by U.S. Marines on suspicions of links to insurgents, condemns in the strongest possible manner the killing of Reuters cameraman during the Israeli attack against Gaza Wednesday.
The Reuters cameraman 24-year-old Fadal Shana was killed while filming the Israeli tank attack in central Gaza.
According to Al Jazeera Satellite channel Shana was killed when he finished filming and was taking his car to send his footage about the brutal attack.
Fadel Subhi Shana appeared, prior to his death, on the Arabic channel and said that he will never quit his job except if he dies or his legs are amputated.
The two Geneva based organizations presents their sincere condolences to the family of the young cameraman and his loved ones as well as to Reuters.
Shana is the 7th journalist killed in April, thus stepping up the number of killed journalists since the beginning of the year to 27 among them three women journalists.
On 15 April the PEC issues a statement with the same spirit of rejoice and condemnation for the safe release of the British journalist and condemns the killing of journalist Khadim Hussain Sheikh in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province.
The release Wednesday of Bilal Hussein, which is long overdue, shows the importance of having a special legal instrument to defend dangerous jobs when the situation is marked by armed conflict as well as in other situations when journalists are arrested under different allegations.
The PEC and the ICPJ wish Bilal Hussein well when reuniting with his family and congratulates the AP for his release.
Hussein – who had been held since April, 12, 2006 – was never brought to trial.
The Iraqi photographer Hussein was a member of an AP team that won a Pulitzer Prize for photography in 2005.
The PEC and the ICPJ wish Hussein a long and productive career to come.
Please consult http://www.pressemblem.ch email pressemblem@freesurf.ch
And http://www.mediacovenant.org email press@mediacovenant.org
(end)

 

Human passions have mysterious ways, in children as well as grown-ups. Those affected by them can’t explain them, and those who haven’t known them have no understanding of them at all. Some people risk their lives to conquer a mountain peak. No one, not even they themselves, can really explain why.

Rest in peace habibi. You were killed doing what you loved most.

Posted by PSQ | Report as abusive
 

deepest sorrow for Shana and his family.

but very obviously, it was the Israeli’s who killed him.

Posted by Ting Shen | Report as abusive
 

Any journalist or cameraman covering a nation with very active terrorists such as hamas and fatah runs the risk of kidnapping, injury or death. However unfotunate, these risks ‘go with the terrirory’.

Posted by sue | Report as abusive
 

I’ve seen the video of his killing and it is something very sad. And once again the press is targeted for doing its job in Gaza, nd I find it disgusting that this has not been mention with many or any details in other news agencies.
Rest in peace Fadel Shana.
You won’t be forgoten.

Posted by Eli Orozco | Report as abusive
 

Few men are able to give up their lives for anything; not even something they truly believe in.
It’s truly sad that Fadel Shana left this world at such a tender age.
His name will forever be inscribed in the hearts of those he touched dearly through his profession, colleagues as well as family and friends. He won’t be forgotten not just because of the way he lived, but rather, because of the the way he died.
I send my thoughts, prayers and wishes of comfort and reassurance to the family of Shana, friends, colleagues and citizens of Palestine.

Posted by Diana Ngila | Report as abusive
 

This is a great loss to the families and the entire Reuters Crew..My condolence goes to the them …I just hope the violence in the middle east will end onde day someday …so many lives have been taken …I’m saddened Personally

 

I don’t understand why there is nothing about this death on the front page of the Reuters news website, or the BBC.

I was hoping that this would bring the Gaza situation to the attention of the World and yet the story has already disappeared without a trace…

Why have Reuters (the company itself) not even made a show of sympathy.

Posted by Mitzab | Report as abusive
 

Stop pointing objects at Israeli tanks when you are in a war zone. It’s that simple.

Posted by David | Report as abusive
 

This has happened to too many journalists to be an accident. I don’t think the Isrealies understand the meaning of the phrase, “don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” Even if the hand sends a Muslim out to cover a story in an objective professional way what is going on, this is outrageous, and probably racist behavior on the part of Israel as peace loving Muslims were probably outraged by this. They just poured gasoline on the fire. In fairness, American soldiers have done similar things: killed unarmed Iraqis in cold blood. That was attributed to battle fatigue in some cases, in others cold blooded murder. They must submit to a thorough investigation to find out what their motive was in deliberately pointing a tank at an unarmed journalist and firing. Did they believe that he was really going to shoot at them with some sort of tank killing rocket and was hiding behind the press logo? I’m skeptical but an investigation needs to be done.

Posted by sinohog | Report as abusive
 

It was The Israelis that killed him and because it would be antisemitic to condemn Israel for its killing, the story will not find lots of puplicity. What is sad is that those who killed him and killed thousands of children will never be called terrorist. Shame on Israel and those who support that terrorist state blindly.

Posted by Carter | Report as abusive
 

I have a reason to believe that he was purposely killed just like other jounalists who attempt to convey an accurate picture of who the “real” terrorists are(Israelis). They don’t want the world to see their barbaric killings of civilians, young and old. But I urge Reuters to emphasize this headline and show the “real” picture of whats going on in Gaza.

Posted by Carter | Report as abusive
 

An organization of veteran IDF soldiers has collected hundreds of testimonies of troops who served in the Occupied Territories. ‘Breaking the Silence’ exposes the horrors Palestinians face under occupation by encouraging soldiers to speak out. Below is the link to their website:

http://www.shovrimshtika.org/about_e.asp

Studies have been conducted in order to try and explain the IDF’s violent behavior towards the Palestinians. Nufar Yishai-Karin, a clinical psychologist at Hebrew University published a disturbing report. She found that Many IDF troops actually enjoyed the destruction and choas they brought onto the civilian population. One soldier operating in Gaza put it this way:

‘The most important thing is that it removes the burden of the law from you. You feel that you are the law. You are the law. You are the one who decides… As though from the moment you leave the place that is called Eretz Yisrael [the Land of Israel] and go through the Erez checkpoint into the Gaza Strip, you are the law. You are God’

Israeli society feels very uncomfortable with what is happening in their name. Yet they prefer to shrug it off when incidents of brutality are reported. These atrocities are not few and far between but occur on a daily basis. Based on the testimonies, it is clear that many IDF troops have suffered psychological and emotional trauma as a result of their actions. The moral corruption within the IDF is in danger of spreading even further if it does not seriously address this problem.

One hopes that Fadel Shana’s tragic death may act as a catalyst for other soldiers to speak out against the brutal occupation.

Posted by Nu'man El-Bakri | Report as abusive
 

If you point a large shoulder-held device at a tank in a war zone, you will be killed. The TC does not have time for close examination. If it were an ATW it would look the same and the only thing the commander can do is shoot fast and hope he doesn’t get the round off.

 

Why nobody ever mentions the death of Daniel Pearl?Why nobody ever mentiones kidnaping and slaughtering of journalists by Islamic militant groups?

Posted by Daniel | Report as abusive
 

This tragic episode only goes to reinforce the isolation of Israel and its efforts to dominate this troubled region. I only hope the US with a new government in waiting withdraws the support it has previously afforded them. Whilst we all condemn the attacks by Hamas on Israeli targets, the responses border on criminality. I am convinced that if the cameraman had been of US or UK nationality, the story would have been of higher priority. Sadly another wasted life in this tragic saga.

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive
 

Hi my name is Jena Anderson and I work for Global Journalist magazine. We are putting together a tribute to be on our website commemorating the lives of journalists who have been killed in 2008. If anyone knows Fadel Shana personally and would like to share any information or stories about him, or if you could offer up any contacts of someone who knows him personally, I would love to hear from you. We would like to make this tribute as special as possible. You can contact me at jlafyb@mizzou.edu.

Posted by Jena Anderson | Report as abusive
 

David, Amercan activist Rachael Corrie who was baldozed in israel in 2003 was not poiting weapons at the israeli soldier, she was protecting a family’s house, is that a war zone to you?? hundreds of reporters killed before, on purpose, were doing their job, which Israelis dont seem to like… Remember Lebanon, Qana, the UN shelter bombed by Israeli aircraft in 1996?!!! IT HOUSED WOMEN AND CHILDREN WHO HAD FLED THE ISRALEI FIRES!!!! More than 100 of their bodies were ripped into pieces!!!!! What guilt have they committed?? For land they kill, for oil they kill, for elections and political gains they kill, and innocents pay.. IT IS THAT SIMPLE!!! May God have mercy on Fadal’s soul and on the soul’s of all the innocent palestinians, and all the innocents butchered by the ISRAELI tyrany!

 

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