In a picture taken from the Israel-Gaza border, smoke rises from the coastal side of the Gaza Strip following an Israeli controlled explosion of a tunnel, on August 1, 2014
In a picture taken from the Israel-Gaza border, smoke rises from the coastal side of the Gaza Strip following an Israeli controlled explosion of a tunnel, on August 1, 2014 © Jack Guez - AFP/File
In a picture taken from the Israel-Gaza border, smoke rises from the coastal side of the Gaza Strip following an Israeli controlled explosion of a tunnel, on August 1, 2014
AFP
Last updated: August 13, 2014

Italy confirms death of journalist Simone Camilli in Gaza

An Italian cameraman working for international news agency Associated Press was among six people killed in northern Gaza on Wednesday as sappers were dismantling an Israeli missile.

A Palestinian translator who also worked part-time for the Gaza bureau of Agence France-Presse (AFP) was another of the victims.

Gaza's interior ministry initially said five people had been killed in a blast which occurred as explosives experts were trying to dismantle an unexploded Israeli missile in Beit Lahiya.

But one later died of his injuries, raising the toll to six, medics said. Another five people were seriously wounded, they said.

The AP confirmed that one of its journalists and a freelance Palestinian translator had been killed, identifying them as Simone Camilli, a 35-year-old cameraman from Italy, and Ali Shehda Abu Afash, 36.

Besides his work as a translator, Abu Afash helped with administration for AFP.

He leaves behind a wife and two girls, aged seven and two.

The Gaza interior ministry also said its top bomb disposal expert in the north was killed, naming him as Taysir Lahum.

Camilli, who recently took a job in Beirut, is survived by a wife and three-year-old daugher. He had worked for The Associated Press since 2005.

He is the first foreign journalist to be killed in more than a month of bloodshed between Israel and Hamas militants which began on July 8.

The two were at the scene with AP photographer Hatem Moussa to cover the story of bomb experts dismantling unexploded ordnance, the agency said. Moussa was badly wounded in the blast.

In a side room at the Kamal Adwan hospital, male relatives could be seen weeping and praying together, some people too shocked to talk.

In Rome, Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini issued a statement expressing sorrow at Camilli's death.

"Simone Camilli's death is a tragedy for his family and for the country. Once more a reporter pays the price for a war that has lasted too many years," she said.

The blast occurred as Israel and Hamas militants were observing a 72-hour truce which expires at midnight local time (2100 GMT) as negotiators in Cairo tried to thrash out a more permanent ceasefire arrangement.

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