Israeli Military Says Reuters Journalist Killed on Lebanon Border Was In a Combat Zone

Issam Abdullah died Oct. 13 when he was hit by Israeli tank fire after filming cross-border strikes

BEIRUT, LEBANON – OCTOBER 22: A Lebanese girl lights a candle during an event honoring Issam Abdallah, Lebanese photojournalist killed by a missile strike of the IDF last October 13 while working in southern Lebanon, on October 22, 2023 in Beirut, Lebanon. Journalists and other civilians have been killed or wounded as Lebanon's southern frontier with Israel sees its most active fighting in years, with the Lebanon-based Hezbollah militant group trading cross-border fire with Israel over the last two weeks. Regional tensions have flared following the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas in southern Israel, prompting that country to launch a siege of the Gaza Strip. (Photo by Manu Brabo/Getty Images)

The Israeli military said Friday that the Reuters journalist killed by tank fire in Lebanon on Oct. 13 was in an active combat zone and the incident is still being reviewed.

The comment follows investigations by the news service and others that found Issam Abdullah, 37, a Reuters visual journalist, died after Israeli tanks fired two rounds at the spot where he was working with a half dozen other marked press in a border area.

A military statement said Lebanese Hezbollah fighters had attacked across the border from that area on the same day, and Israeli forces opened fire to prevent a suspected armed infiltration into Israeli territory, Reuters reported Israel said the Iranian-backed militants launched multiple anti-tank missiles on targets that day.

The investigation found that a group of a half dozen clearly identified journalists from several news organizations was on the spot for more than an hour, including livestreaming cross-border shelling for about 45 minutes from the site. The tank fire came only after cameras panned to a focus on an Israeli outpost and tank that was firing into Lebanon.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday it was important that Israel’s inquiry into the killing reach a conclusion and for the results to be seen, Blinken said at a press conference. “My understanding is that Israel has initiated such an investigation, and it will be important to see that investigation come to a conclusion, and to see the results of the investigation.”

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