Minister provides no evidence; journalist’s colleagues reject the assertion as “ridiculous.”
“[Liberman’s claims are] ridiculous comments that are not worth responding to. Yasser has been working for years in the press and making films for the United Nations, China and others. They killed a journalist and should confess it is a crime.”
— Rushdi Al-Serraj, Ain Media director and co-founder with Yasser Murtaja
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Tuesday said a Gaza journalist who was reportedly killed by Israeli gunfire over the weekend was a member of Hamas.
The claim was immediately rejected by one of Yasser Murtaja’s colleagues, who called the statement “ridiculous.”
Palestinians say Yasser Murtaja was shot Friday while covering violent mass demonstrations near the Israeli border. He was reportedly shot in the torso while wearing a vest emblazoned with the word “press” and filming in an area engulfed in thick black smoke caused by protesters setting tires on fire.
Liberman told reporters on Tuesday that Murtaja was a “terrorist” who had been on the payroll of the Hamas terror group since 2011. He said Murtaja had used a camera drone to collect intelligence on Israeli forces along the border.
“This is a member of the military arm of Hamas who holds a rank parallel to that of captain, who was active in Hamas for many years,” Lieberman said.