Photographers and other journalists covering the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian violence are on high alert this weekend after an Israeli soldier was stabbed on Friday, October 16th, 2015, by a Palestinian attacker who was posing as a local photojournalist.
26-year-old Eyad Awawdeh was reportedly wearing a neon vest over a T-shirt with the word “PRESS” on the front and back and was carrying a camera when he ran up to an IDF soldier in Hebron and stabbed him in the back and chest. Awawdeh was then shot dead by other soldiers in the vicinity.
Crowds of Palestinians attended Awawdeh’s funeral over the weekend:
The Associated Press reports that the attack has raised safety concerns for the media, and that various journalist groups are saying that the impostor’s actions could endanger the lives of legitimate photographers on the field.
“The Foreign Press Association understands a Palestinian posing as a local news photographer and wearing a t-shirt marked PRESS stabbed an Israeli soldier in Hebron today,” the FPA wrote in a statement on Friday. “We utterly deplore this violation of press privilege and call on local Palestinian media organizations to immediately verify all media credentials to ensure there are no violations.”
“Everybody is worried that it will be open season on reporters,” FPA director Glenys Sugarman tells the AP.
“Until now, journalists were taken at face value and now we see that Palestinian terrorists do not hesitate to disguise themselves as journalists and now we will have to be more cautious,” Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon tells the AP. “This does not change the good relations and trust we have with foreign media here.”