"Where is the camera? There are many photos in it which show the killing of Palestinians", said Ma’an News Agency photographer Mohammad Az Zanoun as he fell, having been shot in the stomach by Israeli bullets, said eyewitnesses Saturday.
The young photographer had been taking pictures of the Israeli invasion into the Zaitoun area east of Gaza City when he was hit by shrapnel from Israeli explosives in his mouth and hand. Undeterred, he continued to take pictures, at which point, according to eyewitnesses, an Israeli sniper aimed directly at him and fired several rounds, hitting Zanoun in the stomach and critically wounding him.
He was taken to hospital in a civilian car, as ambulances were not able to reach him, and is currently undergoing a serious operation in the Ash’shifa’a hospital. His colleagues were able to see him when he was admitted to the operating room for surgery.
Zanoun had earlier escaped injury when an Israeli projectile landed among a group of Palestinians in Beit Lahiya on Thursday. He took many photos of the victims of Thursday’s deadly strikes, some of the only photographs to emerge from the attack.
According to a report by the International Committee for the Protection of Journalists, "Fire from Israeli forces has killed several journalists and injured dozens during the years of intense conflict that followed the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada in 2000. In most cases the Israeli army failed to conduct either a thorough investigation or any investigation at all. On the night of May 2, 2003, an Israeli soldier fatally shot British cameraman James Miller in the town of Rafah. Miller was wearing a flak jacket but was shot in the neck. Witnesses said that he was wearing a helmet marked with the letters "TV," and that he held a white flag illuminated by a flashlight. The soldier, who was not named, was the commanding officer in Rafah. In March 2005, the military prosecutor general decided against bringing criminal charges but told members of Miller’s family that the officer, a lieutenant, would face disciplinary measures for violating the rules of engagement and for changing his account of the incident. An investigation by private British security company Chiron Resources Limited, commissioned by Miller’s colleagues and family, found that IDF soldiers had "consciously and deliberately targeted" Miller and his crew. Yet on April 14, 2005, the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] said that it would not take disciplinary action against the officer. Brig. Gen. Guy Tzur, head of the army’s southern command, acquitted the lieutenant of improper use of weapons after a disciplinary hearing, according to international news reports."
Israeli officials have called on foreign citizens and journalists to leave the Gaza Strip as the Israeli military invasion in the area expands. Journalists, however, have criticized the Israeli order, saying that during such an invasion, journalists must be allowed to be present to be able to report the news accurately. Many journalists working in the area, particularly Palestinian journalists, have challenged what they believe is an Israeli military policy in which journalists are specifically targeted.
*this article was sourced from Ma’an News and other sources; photo is from Ma’an News Agency