Israel army claims two journalists slain in Gaza strike were ‘terror operatives’

JERUSALEM – Israel’s army claimed on Jan 10 that two Al Jazeera journalists it killed in an air strike in Gaza were “terror operatives”.

Hamza Wael Dahdouh and Mustafa Thuria, who also worked as a video stringer for AFP and other news organisations, were killed on Jan 7 while they were on an assignment for the Qatar-based channel in the city of Rafah.

The army said in a statement on Wednesday its “intelligence has confirmed that both the deceased were members of Gaza-based terrorist organisations actively involved in attacks against Israel Defence Forces (IDF)”.

“Prior to the strike, the two operated drones, posing an imminent threat to IDF troops,” the army said.

There was no immediate reaction available from the television channel and families of the two men.

When asked on Wednesday by AFP about what kind of drones were used by the two men and the nature of the threat the drones posed to Israeli troops, the army said it was “checking”.

It said Mr Thuria was identified in a document found by troops in Gaza to be a member of Hamas’s Gaza City Brigade, while Mr Dahdouh was identified as a “terrorist” belonging to Islamic Jihad.

The army statement included a copy of a document it said was a list of “operatives from an electronic engineering unit of the Islamic Jihad, including Dahdouh and his military number”.

Mr Dahdouh and Mr Thuria were killed when the car they were travelling in was hit by two rockets on a street in Rafah, according to witnesses. A third journalist and the driver of the car were wounded.

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