Israel's war in Gaza claims lives of 85 journalists, media watchdog group CPJ says

Smoke and fire mark the skyline in Rafah in the southern region of Gaza earlier this month. The Committee to Protect Journalists said 85 media workers have died since fighting started between Israel and Hamas militants on Oct. 7. Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI

Feb. 9 (UPI) -- At least 85 journalists and media workers have been killed while covering Israel's war with Hamas in Gaza since the initial attack on Oct. 7, the Committee to Project Journalists said on Friday.

The organization said the number represents the deadliest period for journalists since 1992. Overall, more than 27,000 Palestinians have died in Gaza and another 1,200 in Israel.

The CPJ said of those killed, 78 were Palestinian, four were Israelis and three were from Lebanon. The committee said 16 more have been injured in fighting, four remain missing and 25 have been arrested.

"CPJ emphasizes that journalists are civilians doing important work during times of crisis and must not be targeted by warring parties," Sherif Mansour, the organization's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, said in a statement.

"Journalists across the region are making great sacrifices to cover this heart-breaking conflict. Those in Gaza, in particular, have paid, and continue to pay, an unprecedented toll and face exponential threat."

Last month, CPJ said that, since Oct. 7, 2023, Israel rose to sixth place among countries that have arrested the most journalists -- behind China, Myanmar, Belarus, Russia and Vietnam.

Three months ago, Reporters Without Borders filed a war crimes complaint with the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes committed during the war.