IDF soldiers detain and assault Al-Jazeera reporter in hospital raid

Israel Defense Forces soldiers detained and physically attacked Al-Jazeera journalist Ismail Al-Ghoul during a raid on Al-Shifa hospital on Monday, where he was reporting on a new military operation. The soldiers then transported Al-Ghoul and other reporters to an unknown destination. He was released on Monday night after being held for almost 12 hours. Carlos Martinez de la Serna, program director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said in a statement: “CPJ welcomes the release of Al-Jazeera journalist Ismail Al-Ghoul and some of the other journalists assaulted and detained by Israel on Monday, but we remain extremely concerned that they were blocked from covering a major military operation, denying them their press freedom rights. “In addition, numerous other journalists remain imprisoned since the Israel-Gaza war began in October. They too should be freed, and their voices should not be silenced.” During the raid, at least 80 people were detained, with the IDF stating that it had taken control of the hospital to “thwart terrorist activity” after receiving “concrete intelligence” that high-ranking Hamas members had gathered there. Thousands of displaced Palestinians have taken refuge in the Al-Shifa hospital complex. Journalists have been working from the vicinity of the hospital since the beginning of the war, struggling with issues like power outages and communication disruptions. During an interview with Al-Jazeera, Al-Ghoul described how he and other journalists were attacked by IDF soldiers, who reportedly destroyed their tent, damaged their equipment, and vandalized their press vehicles. Al-Ghoul said that the soldiers forced the journalists to undress in the cold weather and then held them captive in a room at Al-Shifa hospital while blindfolded and handcuffed. While Al-Ghoul mentioned that most of the Al-Jazeera crew members were eventually released, he was unsure about the status of every team member as their mobile phones, laptops, and equipment had been destroyed by Israeli forces. The journalists were released following inquiries from the US State Department and calls for action by organizations like CPJ and Al-Jazeera. CPJ did not receive a response to its email to the IDF’s North America Desk asking for comment on the reports about the beating and arrests of journalists at the hospital complex. Since Oct. 7, CPJ has documented 95 journalists and media workers killed while covering the war, including the killing by Israeli drone strikes of Al-Jazeera’s Samer Abu Daqqa on Dec. 15, Hamza Al-Dahdouh and Mustafa Thuraya on Jan. 7, and a drone attack that seriously injured Al-Jazeera reporter Ismail Abu Omar.

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