Blinken welcomes Israel probe on reporters killed, wounded in Lebanon


Top U.S. diplomat Antony Blinken has welcomed an Israeli investigation into a strike that killed a journalist and wounded six others on October 13 in southern Lebanon.

"It is important and appropriate that it be fully and thoroughly investigated. My understanding is that Israel has initiated such an investigation and it will be important to see that investigation come to a conclusion and to see the results," he said when asked about the case at a news conference alongside his British counterpart David Cameron.

An investigation by Agence France-Presse published Thursday into the strike, which killed Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah and wounded six others, including two from AFP, points to a tank shell only used by the Israeli army in the high-tension border region.

AFP photographer Christina Assi, 28, had a leg amputated and is still in hospital.

Jointly conducted with Airwars, an NGO that investigates attacks on civilians in conflict situations, the investigation found that the attack involved a 120-mm tank shell only used by the Israeli army in this region.

It found that the strikes likely came from the southeast near the Israeli village of Jordeikh where Israeli tanks were operating.

"I have extraordinary admiration for the men and women in your profession who, every day around the world, in the most dangerous places in the world, are trying to bring the facts, the stories to other people," Blinken said.

Cameron also underscored the important role of journalists, particularly those working in conflict zones.

"It's absolutely essential that you have independent, impartial, professional journalists covering these conflicts," he said.

"And it's an incredibly difficult job, incredibly brave job and my condolences from me and everyone in the UK for that loss of life."

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