News agency claims two of its photographers assaulted by troops who accused them of working for B’Tselem.
The Reuters news agency is claiming that IDF soldiers punched two of its cameramen and forced them to strip in the street, before letting off a tear gas canister in front of them. One of the photographers reportedly required hospital treatment.
“The regional brigade commander was ordered to open an investigation,” Israeli Defense Forces spokeswoman Avital Leibovich said in an email.
According to the report, their car was clearly marked ‘TV’ and both were wearing blue flak jackets with ‘Press’ emblazoned on the front.
The two claim that the soldiers forced them to leave the vehicle and punched them, striking them with the butts of their guns. The troops accused them of working for an Israeli NGO, B’Tselem, which documents human rights violations in the West Bank, the Reuters cameramen said.
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 claim.
According to the report, two other Palestinian journalists working for local news organizations, including a satellite television station affiliated to Hamas, were also stopped and forced to the ground.
The photographers further claimed that 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 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 taken to hospital by ambulance and released later the same night.
The cameramen claim that the 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.
Local sources reported that soldiers broke into the home of Omar Jobrael As-Sleiby, and kidnapped his son Eyad, 14.
Dozens of residents clashed with the soldiers, and hurled stones at them; the army fired concussion grenades and gas bombs.
Also, soldiers assaulted resident Sharif Hasan Abu Hashem, 56, leading to a fracture in his right arm; he was moved to the Hebron Governmental Hospital in the city.
Soldiers also invaded the home of Issa Abdul-Hai Wahadeen after using ladders to climb to its rooftop and broke into it through its roof door. Issa was not at home; his wife Amna, 54, and his 14-year-old daughter, were alone at home and suffered anxiety attacks.
The army went on to invade the home of Ahmad Khalil Abu Hisham, and confiscated the ID card of his son Yousef, 20. Yousef is a former political prisoner who was released nearly three months ago.
In related news, soldiers invaded the nearby towns of Ithna and Halhoul, installed roadblocks on their main entrances, and drove around in the towns for several hours.
On Sunday morning, the army installed a roadblock at the entrance of the Al-Fawwar refugee camp, detained and interrogated several residents while inspecting their ID cards.
On Saturday at noon, the army attacked a nonviolent protest against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, and kidnapped three protesters.
One of the kidnapped is the coordinator of the National Committee Against the Wall in Beit Ummar, Younis Arar, while the two other detained nonviolent protesters are from the United States and Germany.
The protesters denounced the ongoing Israeli escalation against the Gaza Strip, and the destruction of seven homes in Beit Ummar.
The army declared Beit Ummar as a closed military zone and prevented the protesters from entering privately-owned Palestinians lands that Israel wants to illegally grab for the construction and expansion of settlements.
My keffiyeh from the Hirbawi Textile Factory, in Hebron, Palestine, has arrived!
Hopefully people won’t think I’m a hipster and appreciate the message…