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An Israeli strike in south Lebanon killed 2 Lebanese journalists

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

An Israeli strike in south Lebanon Tuesday killed two Lebanese journalists covering fighting across the border between Israel and the Lebanon-based militia Hezbollah. That's what network executives have told us. According to the international Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 53 journalists and media workers have now been killed since the war in Gaza began, most of them Palestinians. NPR's Jane Arraf has more from Amman, Jordan.

(SOUNDBITE OF AL MAYADEEN BROADCAST)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Non-English language spoken).

JANE ARRAF, BYLINE: On Tuesday, the Al Mayadeen network ran a black banner across a corner of its screen as it announced the death of its reporting team.

(SOUNDBITE OF AL MAYADEEN BROADCAST)

GHASSAN BIN JIDDO: (Speaking Arabic).

ARRAF: Channel director Ghassan bin Jiddo, his voice breaking, told viewers that correspondent Farah Omar and cameraman Rabih Maamari were killed in what he called a targeted Israeli drone strike.

(SOUNDBITE OF AL MAYADEEN BROADCAST)

JIDDO: (Speaking Arabic).

ARRAF: The Israeli military said it was targeting a weapons launch site in a dangerous area with active fighting. It said it was reviewing the reports of the deaths. Israel last month banned Al Mayadeen from its airwaves, saying it was affiliated with Iran-backed Hezbollah. Another Lebanese civilian, Hussein Akil, was also killed in the attack near the town of Teir Harfa, about two miles from the Lebanese-Israeli border. At the network's headquarters in Beirut, Al Mayadeen correspondent Fatima Kassem said she and her colleagues would not be deterred by the killings.

FATIMA KASSEM: (Non-English language spoken).

ARRAF: "It was an attempt to silence the media," she said. "Israel's assaults on civilians," she continued, "will not stop, but we will also not stop." Both the network and colleagues at the scene say both Omar and Maamari were wearing body armor that clearly identified them as press. Omar was 25, and her cameraman, Maamari, 44. Colleagues said the network believed both were far enough from the border not to be in danger. After the attack Tuesday, Hezbollah said it struck targets in Northern Israel in retaliation for their deaths. A Reuters video journalist, Issam Abdallah, was killed while covering Israeli attacks across the border last month.

Jane Arraf, NPR News, Amman, Jordan. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Jane Arraf covers Egypt, Iraq, and other parts of the Middle East for NPR News.