Israeli Defense Chief: Anyone Who Flies Drones Over IDF Soldiers Puts Himself at Risk

Lieberman says there have been thousands of incidents where Hamas 'dressed up as journalists. We won't take any chances. I think it's clear to everyone that the IDF is the most moral army in the world'

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman at the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, in Jerusalem, March 12, 2018
\ RONEN ZVULUN/ REUTERS

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Saturday that "anyone who operates drones over Israeli soldiers needs to understand he's putting himself at risk," referring to the incident in which a Palestinian journalist was shot while wearing a "Press" vest.

The journalist, Yaser Murtaja, 30, was shot in the abdomen as he covered demonstrations Friday east of Gaza City. According to the Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate, Murtaja was shot by gunfire while standing 350 meters from the border fence. Murtaja was known to take aerial photographs using a drone. 

Speaking at a Mimuna celebration, a Jewish-Morroccan holiday commemorated at the end of Passover, Lieberman said that "we've seen dozens of cases where Hamas terrorists used ambulances, dressed up as Red Crescent medical personnel, dressed up as journalists. We won't take any chances. I think it's clear to everyone that the IDF is the most moral army in the world."

In reponse to the incident, the Israeli army has said: "The IDF does not intend to shoot at journalists, and the circumstances in which journalists were allegedly injured by IDF gunfire are unknown and are being investigated." Four other journalists were injured by live fire during the demonstrations, one of them critically.

The Union of Journalists in Israel addressed IDF's chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot on Saturday following Murtaja's death. "The union demands explanations regarding the shooting of journalists and the orders given to soldiers on the Gaza border pertaining to members of the press," said a tweet on the Union's Twitter account.