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Reuters' journalist Issam Abdallah films an interview amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Zaporizhzhya, Ukraine, April 17, 2022. © 2022 Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters

(New York) – The United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) should release the findings of its investigation into two Israeli strikes on a group of journalists in south Lebanon on October 13, 2023, 16 NGOs and journalist groups said today in a letter to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, force commander Lieutenant General Aroldo Lázaro Sáenz, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Joanna Wronecka and  Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations. The strikes killed a Reuters journalist, Issam Abdallah, and injured six other media workers.

“The Israeli forces’ apparently deliberate attack on journalists should not go unpunished,” said Ramzi Kaiss, Lebanon researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The UN peacekeepers’ investigation is an important step toward justice, and they should release their findings.”

António Guterres
Secretary-General of the United Nations

Joanna Wronecka
UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General
Lieutenant General Aroldo Lázaro Sáenz
Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon
Jean-Pierre Lacroix 
United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations

The undersigned,
The National Human Rights Commission - Lebanon,
International Human Rights Non-Governmental Organizations,
Local Media Syndicates

Dear Secretary-General António Guterres,

We, the undersigned victims, survivors, and local and international human rights and civil society organizations, welcome the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) investigation into the October 13, 2023, Israeli attack on a group of journalists doing their job in south Lebanon, which killed Reuters videographer, Issam Abdallah, and wounded six other journalists from Reuters, Agence-France Presse (AFP), and Al Jazeera.

Reuters staff, who saw a copy of the seven-page report dated February 27, 2024, summarizing the investigation, reported that UNIFIL found that an Israeli tank killed Abdallah by firing two 120 mm rounds at a group of “clearly identifiable journalists” in violation of international law. The investigators said that UNIFIL personnel did not record any exchange of fire across the border between Israel and Lebanon for more than 40 minutes before the Israeli Merkava tank opened fire.

The Reuters report suggests that the UNIFIL investigation corroborated the findings of investigations conducted by Reporters Without Borders, Reuters, AFP, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. It will be an essential tool in seeking truth, accountability and redress for the victims and survivors.

We therefore request that UNIFIL make its full investigation public in accordance with the UN’s commitment to transparency. Since the UN does make findings related to internal investigations public, there is no shortage of precedents. If UNIFIL is currently unable to make the full report public, we ask you to make a public statement explaining why and providing a timeline for when publication will occur. In such instances, a redacted or summarized version of the report should be released in the interim.

The publication of the investigation findings is necessary to support other justice and accountability efforts that the victims' families want to pursue.

Thank you.



  • Carmen Joukhadar (Reporter, Al-Jazeera - Injured)
  • Christina Assi (Videographer, Agence France Press - Critically Injured)
  • Dylan Collins (Videographer, Agence France Press – Injured)
  • Elie Brakhia (Videographer, Al-Jazeera - Critically Injured)
Local and Regional Syndicates and Journalists' groups
  • Alternative Press Syndicate - Lebanon
  • Syndicate of workers in Audiovisual in Lebanon
Local, Regional, and International Organizations
  • Amnesty International
  • Arab NGO Network for Development
  • Committee to Protect Journalists
  • Euromed Rights
  • Helem
  • Human Rights Watch
  • Lebanese Center for Human Rights
  • Maharat Foundation
  • Media Association for Peace (MAP)
  • MENA Rights Group
  • Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
  • The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy
  • The Legal Agenda
  • Samir Kassir Foundation

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