Three more journalists killed in Gaza in Israeli offensive, relatives say

Palestinians mourn local journalists Hassouna Sleem and Sary Mansour, who were killed in an Israeli strike on a house, at a hospital in the central Gaza Strip

(Reuters) - The head of a prominent media institution in Gaza and two other journalists were killed during the weekend in Israel's offensive in the territory, their relatives said on Sunday, adding to the dozens of reporters who have died in the six-week conflict.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said the weekend deaths raised to 48 the number of journalists and media workers it had confirmed killed in the region since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel and the subsequent Israeli offensive.

The CPJ, whose list covers journalists killed on both sides of the conflict although most have been in Gaza, said it seeks at least two sources to verify each death. It said its list of those killed comprised 43 Palestinians, four Israelis and one Lebanese.

"Journalists across the region are making great sacrifices to cover this heart-breaking conflict. Those in Gaza, in particular, have paid, and continue to pay, an unprecedented toll and face exponential threats," Sherif Mansour, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, said in an email to Reuters.

On Sunday, Belal Jadallah, a journalist and head of the board of the Press House-Palestine, a non-governmental organisation, was killed and his pharmacist brother-in-law was seriously wounded, his sister and other relatives told Reuters.

Jadallah told his sister earlier on Sunday he was heading out of Gaza City towards the south. He was killed in the Zeitoun area of Gaza City, said his sister, who added that people who found him and took him to a medical centre where he was declared dead said he had been killed by an Israeli tank shell.

Reuters could not independently verify this report or the report of the other two journalists killed this weekend.

Four of Jadallah's relatives work for Reuters in Gaza or abroad. One of the journalists on CPJ's list of those killed is Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah who was killed in Lebanon near the border with Israel on Oct. 13.

In addition to Jadallah, two freelance journalists - Hassouna Sleem and Sary Mansour - were killed on Saturday in an Israeli assault on Bureij refugee camp, in the centre of the Gaza Strip, their relatives and Palestinian health officials said. The health officials said 17 people died in the incident.

The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the deaths of Jadallah or the others.

In the past, the Israeli military has said it was pursuing its offensive to dismantle Hamas after the Oct. 7 attack and it would look into individual cases at a later date. It has also said it makes every feasible effort to mitigate civilian harm.

The Press House-Palestine says on its website that its overall objective is to contribute to developing an "independent Palestinian media, that reflects the values of democracy and freedom of expression and its principles."

(Editing by Edmund Blair)