JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli troops were unable to identify Reuters News cameraman Fadel Shana as a journalist before they fired at him from a tank, the Israeli army said on Wednesday, citing the preliminary results of an investigation.
Shana died while filming on a road in central Gaza on April 16. Five other Palestinians also died in the attack.
Shana had been traveling in a vehicle that was marked with large press and TV stickers on the front and sides and was wearing blue body amour with “Press” in large blue letters on a white fluorescent panel on the front.
Responding to repeated requests for an official explanation of the incident, Israeli military spokeswoman Major Avital Leibovich said the army had not yet completed its investigation but would provide a full account as soon as possible.
“The initial investigation showed they were not identified as members of the press,” she said.
Nineteen Palestinians died that day after militants killed three Israeli soldiers who were on a raid into Gaza. Doctors said 24-year old Shana was killed by metal darts sprayed from a tank shell. His final moments of footage show the shell being fired by a tank around 1.5 km (1 mile) away.
His colleague Wafa Abu Mizyed was wounded by a dart.
Reuters News editors met Leibovich and representatives of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s office on Wednesday to urge the Israeli military to share the findings of its investigation.
“We owe it to the family of Fadel Shana and journalists working for Reuters and other media organizations to establish exactly what happened two weeks ago,” said Mark Thompson, Reuters News managing editor for Europe, Middle East and Africa.
“We urge the Israeli army to conduct its investigation as thoroughly and speedily as possible.”