Issam Abdallah worked for the news agency as a videographer and was on the ground serving as part of a crew providing a live video signal. He was reportedly killed by an Israeli artillery strike, and six others who were with him were injured.
The Israel Defense Force has said it is looking into the incident, while Reuters is “urgently seeking more information, working with authorities in the region, and supporting Issam’s family and colleagues.” The IDF admitted to responding with artillery fire after Hezbollah terrorists fired a missile into Israel from Lebanon. Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Richard Hecht said it was a “tragic” incident, adding that “we’re very sorry for his death.”
A pair of Reuters journalists, along with a cameraman and reporter for Al-Jazeera, were also injured. Agence France-Presse, the French international news agency, said a photographer and video journalist working for them were also injured.
A close friend of Issam and international producer for Vice News, Lama Al-Arian, told Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman: “He was in a group, in a press scrum, in a group of journalists, who were standing right in front of the Israeli border, clearly marked as press, you know, wearing their jackets, wearing their helmets and doing just live positions. They weren’t embedded with any sort of group. They were just there, you know, to tell the story of what was happening in the south.”
She added that Issam was very safety-conscious and did not take a lot of risks. She said he told a friend he was concerned about safety along the border, however, and was worried that if something happened to him, “nobody would name his killer.” She believes that he died immediately.
Just hours before the news of his death, he posted a video on X showing loud bangs as the area came under heavy shelling.
Abdallah worked for the Beirut branch of Reuters for 16 years, covering a range of conflicts including the Ukraine war. He was 37 years old and is survived by his mother, a sister and two brothers.
The editor-in-chief of Reuters, Alessandra Galloni, has called for a prompt and transparent investigation into his death with “clear evidence and explanation.”
She said: “Reporting on world events with accuracy, integrity, independence and freedom from bias is core to what we stand for at Reuters, and it is critically important for our journalists to be able to do so safely.”
Tensions are flaring in Lebanon, and the U.S. has raised its travel alert to the country to “do not travel” in the wake of artillery, missile and rocket exchanges between Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon and Israel.
The IDF has been evacuating communities near Israel’s border with Lebanon in anticipation of a potential escalation as Hezbollah militants continue to target Israelis. Hezbollah is believed to possess a significant number of long-range rockets that are capable of striking deep into Israel.
The IDF has called the evacuation a precaution to "reduce harm to civilians and enable the IDF freedom of action if it is required." However, many residents report that numerous families had already left the area on their own due to safety concerns, and headed south. Three Israeli soldiers were killed on Monday in a confrontation with Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants who had crossed over the Lebanese border.
Sources for this article include: