The Israeli Military Prosecutor cleared the Israeli soldiers who killed Palestinian reporter Fadel Shana’a in Al Boreij refugee camp, in the Central Gaza Strip, in April 2008. Soldiers fired a tank shell at a crowd of Palestinians killing nine of them, including Shana’a. Shana’a worked as a cameraman for Reuters.
The prosecutor claimed that the tank crew acted according the field rules and “could not have specified whether Shana’a was carrying a gun or a camera”.
In a letter the prosecutor sent to Reuters, he said that the vest that Shana’a was wearing is very similar to vests that fighters wear. But Reuters said maintained that Shana’a was wearing and blue flaked jacket market with “PRESS” and that the vehicle was also clearly marked.
Reuters added that fighters in Gaza are rarely seen wearing flak jackets.
Reuters also said that it is troubled by the decision as it gives the Israeli army a free hand to kill without being sure of their target and without being sure if reporters are in the targeted areas.
David Schlesinger, Reuters Editor-in-Chief, said that he is extremely disappointed by this Israeli decision since is condones disproportionate use of force by the army.
Shana’a and the Reuters crew were heading to an area that was shelled by the army and several Palestinian civilians were killed. Israeli war jets fired several missiles at residents who gathered near a mosque in Juhr Al Deek area killing twelve and wounding 18 others.
The Reuters vehicle was directly hit by a tank shell; Shana’a as well as five other Palestinians were killed in the shelling.