Israeli troops have shot and wounded two journalists covering a Palestinian protest in the West Bank held following the funeral of a 14-year-old Palestinian boy killed earlier by Israeli soldiers.
Photographers Lazar Simeonov and Majdi Mohammed were struck by rubber-coated bullets fired at close range near the West Bank town of Silwad, located northeast of Ramallah on Sunday.
Mohammed, who is working for the Associated Press (AP), said he was taking pictures with several other photographers near the protest site when an Israeli border policeman stepped out of an armored military jeep and shot him from a distance of 10 to 20 meters.
“The impact was so strong that it made me fall to the ground,” he said, adding, “The policeman aimed straight at us … even though we were clearly a group of media people and there were no protesters at all around us.”
John Daniszewski, the AP’s senior managing editor for international news, described the shooting as an “outrageous disregard for the safety of journalists”, saying, the AP planned to protest to the Israeli government.
Simeonov, a Swiss freelance photographer, said he was hit by the same round as he was standing some 20 meters from Israeli security forces.
“After the incident I also tried to talk to the soldiers and asked them why they shot at us, but they didn’t want to hear anything and just smiled and told me to go away,” Simeonov said.
Many journalists have sustained injuries due to teargas, stun grenades, and rubber bullets fired by Israeli forces during anti-Israeli demonstrations held by Palestinians.