LONDON: The Committee to Protect Journalists has urged Israeli authorities to release Palestinian journalist Diaa Al-Kahlout, who was detained in northern Gaza on Dec. 7.
Al-Kahlout, the chief bureau correspondent for the Qatari-funded, London-based Arab newspaper Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, was detained along with family members.
CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator, Sherif Mansour, expressed “deep concern” about the incident and called for Al-Kahlout’s immediate release.
“The Israeli army should disclose his location, release him immediately, and take steps to ensure the safety of all journalists covering this war, especially those in Gaza who face imminent harm,” he said.
Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, one of the few pan-Arab news outlets that still has a physical presence in northern Gaza, said it had lost contact with Al-Kahlout at around noon on Thursday, and later discovered that he and his family were detained at gunpoint.
Reports suggest that Israeli soldiers detained Al-Kahlout, leaving his disabled daughter behind, and subjected him and others to alleged mistreatment, including physical assault.
Hussam Kanafani, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed’s editor-in-chief, said the outlet was working to determine Al-Kahlout’s whereabouts and secure his release.
Kanafani claimed that Israel deliberately “arrests, targets, and kills journalists” to prevent documentation of crimes.
Since the conflict between Israel and Hamas broke out last Oct. 7, CPJ has reported the arrest of 19 journalists, most based in the West Bank.
According to the media watchdog, at least 63 journalists and media workers have been killed since the beginning of the conflict, the highest casualty count in over 30 years of record-keeping.
Israel has faced persistent allegations of harassing, detaining and obstructing journalists, along with accusations of deliberate targeting.
On Thursday, Reuters published an investigation into the death of reporter Issam Abdallah in an Israeli attack near the Lebanese border on Oct. 13.
Aya Majzoub, Amnesty International’s deputy regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, previously said that the organization’s inquiry into the incident suggested it was a “direct attack on civilians.”
He added that such attacks are “absolutely prohibited by international humanitarian law and can amount to war crimes.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that it was important that an Israeli inquiry into the incident reached a conclusion and that its findings were transparent.