Washington, Oct 26 (EFE). – The US government said Thursday it has no evidence that Israel is deliberately targeting journalists in Gaza, where at least 23 reporters have been killed since the start of the conflict.
“I’ve not seen any indication whatsoever that Israel is going after journalists in particular because of them trying to tell a story,” National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby said during a press briefing in response to a question by the press.
The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least 27 journalists have been killed since the outbreak of the Gaza war on Oct. 7, and the International Federation of Journalists has confirmed at least 23 journalist deaths.
Asked if he believed Israel was silencing journalists trying to report on what was happening in Gaza, Kirby said there was no evidence of that.
“That’s an unfounded allegation,” he said.
The CPJ said that as of Thursday, 27 journalists had been confirmed dead (22 of them Palestinian, four Israeli, and one Lebanese), eight journalists were reported injured, and another eight were reported missing or detained.
In a statement, CPJ said journalists in the Palestinian enclave face “particularly high risks” in the face of “devastating Israeli airstrikes, disrupted communications, and extensive power outages.”
“Journalists are civilians doing important work in times of crisis and must not be targeted by warring parties,” said Sherif Mansour, the organization’s Middle East representative.
The IFJ confirmed the deaths of 23 journalists as of Thursday and issued a statement saying it “condemns the killings and continued attacks on journalists” and “calls for an immediate investigation into their deaths.”
IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said “There is intense and deeply concerned interest in this conflict all round the world, but people will only be able to understand what is really going on if journalists are allowed to do their work.”
Both organizations said they were aware of other unconfirmed reports of other journalists killed, missing, detained, injured or threatened, and were working to verify them.
Press freedom and human rights organizations have in the past denounced Israel for deliberately targeting journalists.
In an extensive report in May of this year, CPJ charged that the Israeli military has killed at least 20 journalists over the past 22 years, in what it called a “pattern.”
According to the report, Israeli forces were responsible for 80% of the deaths of journalists and media professionals in Palestinian territory of which the organization is aware. EFE