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The Israeli Defense Forces have been accused of violating international law when they targeted media offices during the recent military campaign in Gaza. According to Human Rights Watch, on four occasions, Israeli bombs and rockets struck facilities being used by the media, killing at least two media representatives and wounding other civilians.

Israel claimed the buildings became legitimate targets because they were being used by Hamas operatives both as logistical and communication centers, and as a shield to hide senior commanders. The IDF twice hit an 15-story building in Gaza City that held the offices of several international media outlets. One attack hit radio antennas on the roof and the second hit a lower floor that Israels says was the location of a high-ranking militant. Two Palestinian cameramen were killed in a separate attack when their car was struck by an Israeli missile.

Human Rights Watch says that they conducted their own investigation of the sites and determined there was no military activities going on, and therefore the attacks violated the rules of war. Sarah Leah Whitson, the Middle East director for HRW said in a statement “Just because Israel says a journalist was a fighter or a TV station was a command center does not make it so,” adding that even if journalists are biased or spreading propaganda, "that does not make them legitimate targets." The IDF would not comment on the report.

Between the violence in Gaza, the ongoing civil war in Syria, and other targeted attacks by the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan, 2012 has been the deadliest year on record for journalists around the world. The Committee to Protect Journalists says 67 journalists have been murdered or killed on dangerous assignments this year, while Reporters Without Borders puts that figure at 88.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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