The head of the United Nations agency tasked with upholding press freedom today expressed deep concern over the death of Lebanese journalist Assaf Abu Rahal, who was killed during an exchange of gunfire along Lebanon’s border with Israel that also claimed the lives of three other people.
Mr. Rahal worked for the Al-Akhbar newspaper published in Beirut, the Lebanese capital. His colleague Ali Shoaib was wounded in the deadly skirmish between Lebanese and Israeli forces on Tuesday across the so-called Blue Line separating the two countries, UN News reports.
“I am deeply concerned about the circumstances in which Assaf Abu Rahal was killed and his colleague Ali Shoaib injured,” Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said in a statement.
“I call on all parties involved to make every effort to shed light on the causes of this tragic incident, and to make sure it does not happen again by showing more restraint.
“I would further underline that freedom of expression, a fundamental human right, implies the possibility of exercising this right in safety. Armed forces are obligated to respect it,” she added.
According to the non-governmental organization Reporters Without Borders, the two journalists were at a Lebanese army roadblock during Tuesday’s incident.