Associated Press photographer Mahmoud Illean was struck in the face by a Border Police officer while covering riots in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah on Friday afternoon, the media outlet reported.
During the protest, Israel Police arrested two suspects in the east Jerusalem neighborhood for assaulting police forces and causing public disturbances, a police spokesperson stated on Friday afternoon.
One police officer was lightly injured as a result of a chair being thrown at him and the suspect was caught and taken in for questioning. A second suspect was arrested for issuing threats.
Illean stated that about 15 minutes after the protests ended, he was approached by a group of Border Police officers who proceeded to throw a stun grenade in his direction.
The officers then approached him in a group, as seen in a video circulating on social media. One then proceeded to push him to the ground and strike him in the face multiple times. A second officer can be seen attempting to stop him from striking Illean. In photographs following the incident, Illean is bleeding from the top of his head.
Israeli occupation forces attacked journalists and a disabled Palestinian activist earlier today in Sheikh Jarrah, where more families are now facing the threat of displacement.#IsraeliTerrorism#FreePalestine#SaveSheikhJarrahpic.twitter.com/zLRFcxxJSb— Nirvana89 (@nrvana998) December 18, 2021
He was taken to Hadassah-University Medical Center on Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus for X-rays, according to AP, but returned home several hours later with a bruised face and head and back pain.
The riots were part of an ongoing fight against the eviction of four Sheikh Jarrah families who recently rejected a High Court of Justice compromise to solve their property dispute with the Jewish-owned Nahalat Shimon Company.
Earlier this month, a 14-year-old girl, whose family is facing eviction from their Sheikh Jarrah home, was arrested for stabbing a Jewish woman, Moriah Cohen, while she was walking her children to school.
“We are outraged by this senseless and unprovoked attack by Israeli police on an AP photographer, who was simply doing his job,” said AP spokeswoman Lauren Easton. “Such violence against journalists is abhorrent and unacceptable.”
The Foreign Press Association, which represents over 400 journalists working for international media in Israel, condemned the incident, saying it raised “serious questions about the discipline and professionalism of the officers,” before calling for a thorough investigation and for “appropriate disciplinary action against the officer involved.”