Footage has emerged online of Israeli soldiers assaulting two Agence France-Presse (AFP) journalists in the occupied West Bank. The two journalists were assaulted by a group of soldiers while covering clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters at Beit Furik, near Nablus.
Italian journalist Andrea Bernardi was filmed being thrown to the ground and stabbed in the side with the barrel of a gun. He suffered bruised ribs and a black eye, and is understood to have received hospital treatment, according to AFP.
Bernardi and his Palestinian photographer, Abbas Momani, had been reporting on the confrontations between Israeli soldiers and young Palestinian men when they were ordered to stop filming. Both men were wearing protective helmets and body army clearly emblazoned with the word "press".
The heavily armed soldiers forced the two journalists to the ground and they were restrained on the ground until they showed their press cards, AFP bureau chief Thomas Cox told the Guardian. "They had passed the first checkpoint of the border police with their press cards without problem," he said. "Bernardi paused to check his camera settings and as he was doing so a soldier immediately arrived and told him to stop filming and pushed his camera. He then took the camera and smashed it."
The two journalists decided to leave but as they did the soldiers grabbed their other equipment, including a stills camera and some memory cards. When Bernardi tried to recover his destroyed camera, a soldier jumped on him with a knee on his chest and put a pistol in his face.
The footage was posted online by PalMedia Center, a Palestinian news agency, and clearly shows a soldier smashing a black object violently on to the asphalt road, before picking it up again and throwing it away. Voices in Arabic in the background can be heard muttering "camera".
Israeli army spokesman Colonel Peter Lerner promised "disciplinary measures" against the soldiers. "The highest levels of command are aware of the incident," he said.
The journalists had been covering clashes that broke out following the funeral of 26-year-old Palestinian Ahmed Khatatbeh, who died after being shot near Nablus by Israeli forces. Israeli authorities said he and another Palestinian had thrown a petrol bomb at a vehicle on a road near the Jewish settlement of Itamar.