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AP video journalist, translator killed in Gaza

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 13, 2014 at 9:26 am •  Published: August 13, 2014
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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Associated Press video journalist and a freelance Palestinian translator were killed Wednesday when ordnance left over from the Israeli-Hamas war exploded as they were reporting on the conflict's aftermath.

Simone Camilli and Ali Shehda Abu Afash died when an unexploded missile believed to have been dropped in an Israeli airstrike blew up as Gaza police engineers were working to neutralize it in the northern town of Beit Lahiya.

Police said three police engineers also were killed. Four people, including AP photographer Hatem Moussa, were badly injured.

Moussa told a colleague that they were filming the scene when an initial explosion went off. He said he was hit by shrapnel and began to run when there was a second blast, which knocked him out. He woke up in a hospital and later underwent surgery.

Camilli, a 35-year-old Italian national, had worked for the AP since 2005, when he was hired in Rome. He relocated to Jerusalem in 2006, and often covered assignments in Gaza. He had been based recently in Beirut, returning to Gaza after the war began last month.

He is survived by a longtime partner and a 3-year-old daughter in Beirut, as well as his father, Pier Luigi, in Italy.

Camilli is the 33rd AP staffer to die in pursuit of the news since AP was founded in 1846, and the second this year. On April 4, AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed and veteran AP correspondent Kathy Gannon was badly wounded by a gunman in Afghanistan.

He is the first foreign journalist killed in the Gaza conflict, which took more than 1,900 Palestinian lives and 67 on the Israeli side.

Abu Afash, a 36-year-old Gaza resident, is survived by his wife and two daughters, ages 5 and 6. He often worked with the international media as a translator and news assistant.

"Simone was well known throughout Europe, and especially to our video team in London, where his death has hit AP deeply," Gary Pruitt, the AP's chief executive, said in a memo to staffers.

"As all of you know, this has been a very difficult year for AP," he said. "As conflict and violence grows around the world, our work becomes more important but also more dangerous. We take every precaution we can to protect the brave journalists who staff our front lines. I never cease to be amazed at their courage."

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