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Reporter wounded by gunshot
Israel asks journalists to leave Ramallah
By Greg Myre, Associated Press, 03/31/02
RAMALLAH, West Bank -- An American reporter was shot and wounded in the shoulder in Ramallah on Sunday, and Israel warned that foreign journalists were at risk and should not be in the occupied West Bank city.
Anthony Shadid, a Washington-based Boston Globe reporter on assignment in Ramallah, was standing in a doorway of a shop with Globe stringer Said al-Ghazali when he was shot in the shoulder, said Globe foreign editor James F. Smith.
Shadid, 33, was conscious and in stable condition in a private Arab hospital in Ramallah, Smith said. The bullet was lodged in the shoulder. Globe officials were talking with Shadid's family members about the best course of action, and how to get him out of the West Bank.
Large numbers of Israeli troops control the empty streets in the area where Shadid was shot, though it was not clear who shot him. The Israeli army said it was investigating.
A group of about 10 Western and Palestinian journalists went to the hospital to see Shadid, and soldiers who were just inside the door would not allow them to enter. They waited for about an hour and left just before sunset, when travel on the city's streets becomes more dangerous.
A short while later, Dr. Moussa Abu Hmeid, a Palestinian Health Ministry official, said troops confined the doctors and nurses in the hospital to several rooms and cut off the phone lines.
The military spokesman's office said it would investigate the claim.
Israeli officials, meanwhile, warned that the city was a closed military zone and journalists should not be in it.
The city was declared a closed zone on Friday, but this was only sporadically enforced and journalists and other foreigners were able to get in as late as Sunday morning. However, officials had been complaining that the reporters are getting in the way.
"No foreign citizens (including members of the media) are allowed to be in the closed zone," said a statement issued by the Government Press Office. "Anyone found in the closed zone henceforth will be removed. Members of the media are advised that their presence in the closed zone is at their own risk."
Although the army in the past had declared certain areas closed to the media, applying this to an entire city is a relatively new practice, and the threat to remove reporters was unusual.
The Foreign Press Association in Israel issued a protest saying that "the media must be allowed to cover this major story. We call upon the Israeli government to allow free and independent coverage of the operation in Palestinian Authority areas."
Shadid was the second journalist wounded in the current incursion. On Friday, Carlos Handal, a Palestinian television cameraman, was wounded in the face while driving a van through the West Bank city of Ramallah after it was occupied by Israeli forces retaliating for Palestinian terror attacks.
He was hospitalized with moderate injuries.
Handal, from the West Bank city of Bethlehem, works as a free-lance cameraman for Abu Dhabi TV and the Egyptian-based Nile TV, fellow journalists said.
More than 40 journalists have been wounded and one killed since the beginning of a Palestinian uprising 18 months ago.
On March 13, during an earlier occupation of Ramallah, Italian photographer Raffaele Ciriello was shot and killed. Witnesses said he was hit by a machine gun on an Israeli tank. Israel is investigating that incident.
Shadid formerly worked as an Associated Press correspondent and served in Cairo from 1995 to 1999.
© Copyright 2002 Boston Globe Electronic Publishing Inc.