An AP photographer and his Swiss colleague were hurt after Israeli border police fired a crowd control grenade at a group of journalists covering Palestinian protests in the West Bank.
The news agency’s Majdi Mohammed and Swiss freelance journalist Lazar Simeonov were injured during the Israeli forces’ suppression of protests, where they deployed rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and tear gas.
The photographers were working in the West Bank town of Silwad, where Palestinians were protesting after the funeral of a 14-year-old boy, who was killed in an earlier clash with Israeli soldiers.
Mohammed told the Agency that as he was taking pictures, an armored car pulled up behind him and a border policeman stepped out and fired directly at him from a distance of 10 to 20 meters.
The officer fired a round that discharges a number of rubber-coated steel projectiles, which is basically a grenade designed to hurt small groups of people. Simeonov was injured by the same round.
“The impact was so strong that it made me fall to the ground,” Mohammed said. “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.”
Both journalists reported minor injuries and Simeonov’s camera was also damaged.
AP said it would lodge a protest with the Israeli government. John Daniszewski, AP’s senior managing editor for international news, said the incident showed “outrageous disregard for the safety of journalists” lawfully doing their jobs.
Israeli police spokesman, Micky Rosenfeld, said it was not immediately clear why the border patrol policeman had opened fire on the journalists. He added the police “dispersed hundreds of rioters,” some of whom threw firebombs and stones at the Israeli forces.
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