Hundreds of Palestinian mourners on Thursday attended the funeral of 24-year-old Gaza journalist Ahmed Abu Hussein, who was killed by an Israeli military sniper while reporting on a protest at the Gaza border.
Hussein, a photographer for Gaza’s Voice of the People radio station, was the second journalist to be killed by Israeli forces since a wave of protests known as the “March of Great Return” began on March 30. Thousands of people have been injured, and at least 40 protesters have been killed.
According to the Associated Press, amateur footage showed that Hussein was wearing a vest and helmet marked “TV” to identify himself as a journalist, when he was shot.
“Protective gear that clearly indicates individuals are members of the press should afford them extra protection—not make them targets,” Sherif Mansour, Middle East and North Africa program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, told Al Jazeera. “The death of Ahmed Abu Hussein underscores the need for Israeli authorities to urgently scrutinize its policies toward journalists covering protests and take immediate, effective action.”
The head of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) gave troops instructions to use force during the protests, which began on the 42nd anniversary of Land Day, marking the deaths of six Palestinian protesters who were killed by Israeli soldiers while protesting settlements.
The organizers of the protests have urged participants to demonstrate peacefully.
Human rights groups have denounced Israel’s violent response to the protests.
”We express our outrage over these shootings that may have resulted in unlawful killings and the incomprehensibly high number of injuries sustained,” said several U.N. human rights experts in a statement last week. “No evidence has emerged showing that such a situation occurred during the demonstrations that would make the lethal force used legal. The freedoms of association, assembly, and expression are all fundamental rights under international human rights law. These rights are to be given broad protection, and can only be restricted in narrow and exceptional circumstances. Israel must fully observe these rights, and ensure that their approaches to crowd control and demonstrations are in strict accordance with international law.”