A. Raffaele Ciriello: My Condolences to Humanity


Dear Readers,

This is a very sad moment for me. A. Raffaele Ciriello was on IRANSCOPE list from the very first days of this list. It is heartbreaking for me to read the following news. The Arab-Israel conflict has taken another precious life. The life of one of the best human beings. A journalist who was in reality a peace veteran. He had always been a true veteran photo journalist who brought the pictures of atrocities of Islamist Taleban to all of us at his website, appropriately named "PostCardsFromHell" [ http://www.ciriello.com/ ]. He tried to make people aware of these hells all around the world so that humanity would do something to stop the burning fire in these hells. Now the bullets of this conflict have killed him in the hell of the Palestine-Israel Conflict. When is this hell going to stop?

My condolences to A. Raffaele Ciriello's family and to all humanity for the loss of this great brave photo journalist and veteran peace activist. His memories will always be with us.

Sam Ghandchi, Publisher
March 17. 2002

P.S.  Please see the news about how he was shot while making his photoreportage in the battlefield of Palestine-Israel conflict.  Some news clips are attached at the bottom of this message.


P.P.S Please see the last footage of Raffaele's works before his heart stopped beating. His site is back up now:


*******************A.Raffaele Ciriello's Emails to me about Afghnestan, Art, etc.***********************************

From:  "A.Raffaele Ciriello" <ciri@planet.it>
Date:  Fri Apr 21, 2000  2:37 am
Subject:  IRAN: photoreportage on the web

Dear Friends,

As an italian freelance photojournalist covering exclusively international issues, often from war/conflict areas, I just posted on my website the largest available Internet collection of pictures from Iran ( 8 volumes ) coming from my
most recent stay in Tehran during the celebrations for the 20th Anniversary of the islamic revolution in Feb-Mar 1999.  This portfolio will bring the viewer from the Majlis and his female members to President Khatami and his young supporters, from iranian women working as journalists or jogging early in the morning in Tehran's parks to teenagers in fast-food restaurants, from soccer-maniacs to the chaotic traffic in Tehran, from cultural centers to local restaurants, from videogames arcades to window-browsing in Vali-YŤ Asr ave or in crowded Tajirish bazaar.

Please feel free to review my website and possibly address whoever is
interested in (new) Iran.

Thank You in advance for Your time.

A.Raffaele Ciriello
Interested in photojournalism from war/conflict areas all over the the globe?
please check out
Nothing comparable on the Net !


A.Raffaele Ciriello's Emails of April 1st and March 18th, 2001 about his Photos of Afghanestan

From: A.Raffaele Ciriello [ciri@planet.it]
Sent: Sunday, April 01, 2001 5:51 PM
To: ghandchi@home.com
Subject: Re: I have added your URL below. Please let me know if it is not OK with you. Thx, - Sam

Thank You, Sam

I will be glad to link back at the very first revision of my link page at


Be well,


From: A.Raffaele Ciriello [ciri@planet.it]
Sent: Sunday, March 18, 2001 2:24 PM
To: iranscope@yahoo.com
Subject: [PFH] Newsletter March 2nd, 2001: AFGHANISTAN, Endangered
Buddha Statues

Dear Friends,

As You may know already, with a decree issued personally last Monday by Mullah Omar, the political and religious leader of Afghanistan rulers, the hyper-integrist islamic Taleban movement, all statues of divinities have been bannes in Afghanistan; statues left will be actively searched and destroyed. Accordind to several reports, this harshest spring cleaning campaign has started already. Most endangered, besides several Buddhas currently located in Kabul's museum, two giant Buddhas from the 5th century standing carved in the mountain's rock in the central region of Bamiyan, Hazarajat. These statues, who were defaced in the past due to somehow poor religious compliance, suffered pretty severe damage in 1998 and 1999,, following fighting raging in that area, and, reportedly, after a zealous Taleban commander shoot at them with some rockets and artillery he had hand-ready. This gentleman also drilled several
holes in the taller statue's face, to help the insertion of dynamite to blow it off completely. Fortunately, this second part of his task went unsuccessful. I would like to invite You to take a visual tour of these peaceful, unharmful, silent, long-standing giants (50+ and almost 40 meters tall), and of the incredible beauty of the surrounding region, at


I was in Bamiyan for just one tense day, together with a journalist colleague, Mrs. Maria Grazia Cutuli


Indeed, the Hezb-I-Wahdat, allied at that time with Commander Massud's Jamiat-I-Islami, had just recaptured Bamiyan, from the uzbeks of General Dostum. I will regret for all my life not having climbed inside the taller statue to enjoy what should have been a breath-stopping sight. If I just think these statues could be rubbles within a few hours...

You will find also a link to a valuable complete historical overview provided by the Society for the Preservation of Afghanistan's Cultural Heritage (SPACH)

Following, You will find a digest of related news. A digest of previously posted messages for this newsletter is available at


Thank You, Dear Friends, for Your interest in my Postcards From Hell.

A. Raffaele Ciriello


A.Raffaele Ciriello's Response to me about Guity Novin's Website

On June 25th, 2001, I asked my friend A.Raffaele Ciriello about his opinion of the artistic works of Guity Novin.

A.Raffaele Ciriello's own website was called "PostCardFromHell".

Both his and Guity Novin's website have been on IRANSCOPE Interesting Websites:


Here below is A.Raffaele Ciriello's response to me about Guity Novin's website:

From: A.Raffaele Ciriello [ciri@planet.it]
Sent: Monday, June 25, 2001 4:25 PM
To: Sam Ghandchi
Subject: Re: A question? Guity Novin- An Artist!

Hi Sam,

Far from being an artist, much closer to a street photographer, I must say
Guity Novin's ws is pretty impressive. I would rather see LARGER
images both for evaluation or purchasing purposes though.

All the best,
A. Raffaele Ciriello

>Dear A. Raffaele,
>Because I know you are more knowledgeable about art,
>I thought to ask you what you think of the following
>website by Guity Novin.
>- Sam Ghandchi, Publisher

Interested in photojournalism from war/conflict areas all over the the globe?
Check out Postcards From Hell at http://www.ciriello.com
Nothing comparable on the Net !
Now, You can also subscribe to Postcards From Hell newsletter

******************************************* Attachment to his March 18, 2001 email*******************************

Monday February 26 11:23 AM ET
Taliban: Statues Must Be Destroyed
By AMIR SHAH, Associated Press Writer
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Afghanistan's hardline Taliban rulers ordered the
destruction Monday of all statues, including a giant 5th century Buddha
that is said to be the world's tallest of its kind.
The order came from the Taliban's supreme leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, who
issued an edict declaring statues, including the ancient Buddhas, as
insulting to Islam.
``Because God is one God and these statues are there to be worshipped and
that is wrong. They should be destroyed so that they are not worshipped now
or in the future,'' Omar said in his edict, published by the Taliban-run
Bakhtar News Agency.
Afghanistan's ancient Buddhas are located in Bamiyan, about 90 miles west
of the Afghan capital of Kabul. One Buddha, measuring 175 feet, is said to
be the world's tallest statue in which Buddha is standing up rather than
The smaller is 120 feet tall. The two statues, which have been damaged in
fighting in the area, were carved out of the Afghan mountainside in the 5th
It's not clear what prompted the latest edict from the Taliban. The
religious army espouses a harsh brand of Islamic law and reviles all images
as contrary to the tenets of Islam.
The Taliban bans most forms of light entertainment, all photography, and
requires men to wear beards in keeping with the fashion of Islam's prophet
The Taliban rule roughly 95 percent of the country and the opposition, led
by ousted President Burhanuddin Rabbani, the remaining 5 percent.
Afghanistan's museum also contains a treasure-trove of Buddhist-era
artifacts. Much of the museum was destroyed in the bitter fighting between
rival Islamic factions between 1992 and 1996 when the Taliban took control.
Many of the artifacts were stolen and sold on the open market. Some have
appeared in museums around the world.
The tallest of the two giant Buddhas has already been damaged by zealous
Taliban soldiers who fired rocket propelled grenades at it. There have been
reports that the faces of the Buddhas have been disfigured. Images of faces
are forbidden in Islam, according to the Taliban.
Omar ordered his Ministry of Vice and Virtue to send its men out to destroy
all statues in Afghanistan.
The edict comes as an international delegation is in Kabul meeting with
Taliban leaders to try to preserve Afghanistan's heritage. Among the
delegation are the Italian and Greek ambassadors in neighboring Pakistan.
There was no immediate comment from that delegation to the Taliban leader's
newest order.
Copyright ? 2001 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

thr 054
Pakistan-Taliban-Statues /WRD/
 Taliban vow to go ahead with destruction of statues
Islamabad, Feb 27, IRNA -- Taliban on Tuesday expressed their resolve
to go ahead with the implementation of their order to destroy statues
in Afghanistan.
Taliban leader, Mulla Omar issued a decree on Monday, ordered the
militia to destroy all statues 'as their presence in Afghanistan is
However, a number of Afghan scholars and international
organizations took a serious exception to this announcement, saying it
would completely destroy Afghanistan's cultural heritage.
The UNESCO was prompt to issue a statement, asking Taliban 'to
preserve historic and cultural heritage of Afghanistan'.
"This is our internal problem and no one should object to it,"
Taliban Ambassador in Pakistan, Mulla Abdul Salam Zaeef said, while
talking to reporters here.
"The U.N. is more concerned about the statues but is not paying
any attention to the sufferings of the poor Afghans," he said.
Prior to the dawn of Islam, Afghanistan was a Buddist country and
it still contains precious ancient statues and other antiques of that
A large number of these statues were stolen from the country's
museums and smuggled abroad but there are still many of them,
including the world's tallest statue of Buddha, engraved on a mountain
in the central Bamyan province of Afghanistan.
There were recently reports that Taliban had already destroyed
many of these statues.
"I want to make clear that there should be no doubt in the
implementation of the religious edict," Mulla Zaeef said.
"The people of Afghanistan are Muslims and they do not need these
statues," he added.
::irna 17:06

Taliban order all statues destroyed
Rory McCarthy in Islamabad
Tuesday February 27, 2001
The Guardian
Afghanistan's Taliban rulers yesterday extended their hardline vision of
Islamic law by ordering the destruction of all statues, including the
world's tallest standing Buddha.
The edict came directly from Mullah Mohammad Omar, the Islamic militia's
leader, a recluse who has rarely left his home in Kandahar, southern
"Based on the verdict of the clergymen and the decision of the supreme
court of the Islamic emirate all the statues around Afghanistan must be
destroyed," he ordered.
"Because God is one God and these statues are there to be worshipped and
that is wrong. They should be destroyed so that they are not worshipped now
or in the future."
Officials from the Ministry for the Prevention of Vice and the Promotion of
Virtue will be sent out to destroy the statues.
Mullah Omar's order, the latest in a long line of anti-cultural and
misogynistic decrees, appeared to be a stark response to a visit by western
diplomats who travelled to Kabul after reports that ancient statues in the
capital's museum were being destroyed.
The diplomats met the Taliban's information and culture minister yesterday
but were not allowed into the museum.
More than a dozen pre-Islamic artefacts in the museum have been damaged in
recent months by zealous Taliban soldiers. Most of the building's finest
treasures were looted in fighting which followed the decade-long Soviet
Over the past 20 years many of Afghanistan's richest archaeological finds
have been smuggled across the border to Peshawar, Pakistan, and sold to
private collectors. Others have been destroyed by artillery and rocket fire.
In the past Mullah Omar has ordered non-Islamic artefacts to be protected,
although to little effect.
Afghanistan's finest archaeological site is in Bamiyan, 90 miles west of
Kabul, where the world's tallest standing Buddha is 53 metres high, carved
out of a sandstone cliff-face. Nearby stands another Buddha 37 metres
(120ft) high.
Although the sculptures, carved in the 2nd century AD, withstood Genghis
Khan's invasion, the land was mined during the Soviet occupation and they
stand in a region where the Taliban are still fighting opposition forces.
In September 1998 the shorter Buddha's head and folds of the robes were
blown up by a Taliban commander. He then fired rockets at the groin and the
folds of the clothes of the larger statue.
Since seizing Kabul four years ago the Taliban have enforced a brutally
strict interpretation of Islamic law.
In his earliest decrees Mullah Omar ordered the destruction of all
portraits and pictures, describing them as idolatry.
Other decrees included a ban on kite-flying, keeping pigeons, playing music
and dancing. Women were ordered to wear all-covering cloaks, or burqas, and
travel only with a male relative. Men were ordered not to shave their beards.

Guardian Unlimited ? Guardian Newspapers Limited 2001
Kabul defends plan to break statues
KABUL, Feb 27: A day after ordering the destruction of ancient Buddhist
statues, the Taliban militia chief on Tuesday shrugged off international
condemnation, saying "all we are breaking are stones".
Mulla Mohammad Omar informed the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) that he had
issued his order to destroy all statues in Afghanistan, including those
from its pre-Islamic past, in line with "Islamic" beliefs.
"According to Islam, I don't worry about anything. My job is the
implementation of Islamic order," he said from the militia's stronghold in
"The breaking of statues is an Islamic order and I have given this decision
in the light of a fatwa of the ulema and the supreme court of Afghanistan.
Islamic law is the only law acceptable to me."
The order, announced on Monday on the Taliban radio, was met with shock
from Tokyo to Paris, where UNESCO demanded the Taliban "halt the
destruction of (Afghanistan's) cultural heritage".
The Taliban's Radio Shariat said the ministry of information and culture
and the religious police would carry out the destruction.
"Only Allah, the Almighty, deserves to be worshipped, not anyone or
anything else," Mulla Omar's decree said.
Afghanistan is famous for its two massive and ancient Buddha statues in the
central province of Bamiyan, dating back to the second century.
Carved into sandstone cliffs and standing 50 metres and 34.5 metres tall,
they are among the tallest standing Buddhas in the world.
In Tokyo, Hokkaido University's professor emeritus of Buddhism, Kotatsu
Fujita, said: "I cannot believe the Taliban will destroy the big Buddhas."
"Even though the statues are in Afghanistan, they are really world heritage
sites now. I strongly doubt the Taliban's understandings of cultural
All Japan Buddhist Association secretary general Kijo Nishimura said the
destruction "must be avoided as much as possible under any circumstances".
"Once you destroy something, you can never get it back. We have an
important responsibility to leave these statues to our descendants ... ,"
he said.
Omar said Afghan history was secondary to the history of Islam.
"Whoever thinks this is harmful to the history of Afghanistan then I tell
them they must first see the history if Islam," Omar told the AIP.
"Some people believe in these statues and pray to them ... If people say
these are not our beliefs but only part of the history of Afghanistan, then
all we are breaking are stones."
In deeply Buddhist Thailand, a foreign ministry spokesman said the loss of
the Bamiyan Buddhas would be a loss to humanity. "It is their loss. I hope
they could rethink their decision. It's a loss to humanity," he said..-AFP

Taliban sentences Afghan cultural riches to dust
By Reuters
Afghanistan's ruling Taliban yesterday vowed to destroy all statues from
the country's rich cultural past, declaring that the world-famous
sculptures were un-Islamic.
FACING DOOM: This 178-foot-high Buddha carved in central Afghanistan cliffs
survived the onslaught of Genghis Khan, but may not survive the Taliban edict.
An early target, already rumored to have been attacked, would be
Afghanistan's best-known archaeological site, the two towering Buddhas
carved into a cliff face at Bamiyan.
"There is a decision of religious scholars on this matter, this will be
implemented - for sure," Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, the Taliban's ambassador
in Pakistan, told Reuters.
A delegation of ambassadors from a society that represents UNESCO were
angered by the announcement. "The past of Afghanistan belongs to the Afghan
people. Secondly, it is also world heritage," said Dimitri Loundras, the
Greek ambassador in Pakistan and chairman of the Society for the
Preservation of Afghanistan's Cultural Heritage.
Mr. Loundras said Taliban officials had refused them access to the Kabul
museum - where he believed between 12 and 60 statues had already been
destroyed - and had heard reports yesterday that one of the two unique
Buddhas of Bamiyan had already been attacked.
But Mr. Zaeef dismissed criticism as interference in the Taliban's internal
affairs and religious beliefs. He said the action was necessary to ensure
no one worshiped a statue.
The Taliban, which has vowed to create what it sees as the world's purest
Islamic state, has closed down television and banned photography of people
in the more than 90 percent of Afghanistan it rules. "As Islamic sharia
[law] orders the destruction of statues and considers the drawing of
portraits a mockery to the servants of Allah, the destruction of any site
decorated with pictures is necessary," the Taliban's statement said.
After news of the order was broadcast, UNESCO immediately urged all
concerned, especially Afghans, to "stop the destruction of their cultural
heritage." "Situated at a crossroads of the ancient Silk Routes,
Afghanistan enjoys a unique cultural heritage marked by multiple influences
from Persia, Greece, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam," UNESCO said.
Most statues date from nearly 2,000 years ago, when Afghanistan was a
center of Buddhist learning and pilgrimage. They were largely untouched for
more than a millennium after the arrival of Islam, surviving even the
onslaughts of Genghis Khan in the 13th century and Tamerlane in the 14th
The Taliban, facing severe criticism for restrictions on the activities of
women, has had little success in its campaign to win international
recognition as the government of Afghanistan. This will made it harder.
"We are expecting that the international community will be very saddened
about that, and then it might take some measures against the Taliban
regime," Loundras said. "I'm sure the Taliban would like international
recognition, but that will never come to them."

Efforts to stop Taleban from destroying statues
COLOMBO - Sri Lankan ambassadors around the world will seek help from their
host governments to halt the impending destruction of ancient Buddha
statues in Afghanistan by the Taleban regime, officials said yesterday.
The government asked the ambassadors to start a dialogue with local
government leaders on a common strategy to protect the statues, the Foreign
Ministry said.
"The statues' preservation is of interest not only to the Buddhist
countries but to the world at large," it said.
The pleas primarily target Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Nepal,
five predominantly Buddhist nations in Asia.
Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar asked envoys also to consult Laos and
Cambodia, where Sri Lanka does not have embassies.
Mr Kadirgamar telephoned his Pakistani counterpart Abdul Sattar about the
Taleban's actions.
"The Pakistani foreign minister, who also expressed concern at this latest
development, said that his government would do its utmost to safeguard
these statues," the ministry said. - AFP

The Globe and Mail
The Taliban's hammer
Thursday, March 1, 2001
The Spanish conquistadors smashed up Aztec and Mayan temples. The Nazis
hurled books onto bonfires. The murderous Pol Pot regime tried to eradicate
all trace of Cambodia's history. Now, from Afghanistan, comes word that the
Ministry of Vice and Virtue plans to destroy every statue in the country,
including the world's tallest Buddha, almost 2,000 years old.
This, because the ruling Taliban militia has decreed the statues an affront
to its peculiar brand of Islam. Worshippers might be tempted to pay homage
to the idols, the Taliban's youthful leaders have decided, even though
Afghanistan is devoid of Buddhists.
Repression is nothing new to impoverished, landlocked Afghanistan, currently
struggling with a drought that has displaced as many as 600,000 of its 18
million luckless residents. Since seizing control in 1996, the Taliban have
imposed a police state where women must cover themselves from head to toe,
photography is forbidden, beardless men risk imprisonment and thieves have
been stoned to death.
Nonetheless, the ruling clique's newest edict has stirred worldwide concern,
particularly over the fate of two fifth-century treasures, both carved into
a sandstone cliff in the central province of Bamiyan, and both already
damaged from years of civil war. One is the world's tallest standing Buddha,
roughly 50 metres high; a second Buddha is two-thirds as tall.
Joining the chorus of alarm, the Paris-based office of the United Nations
Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization yesterday urged the Taliban
to rethink, fearing "a real cultural disaster that will cause irreparable
harm to a heritage of exceptional universal value."
Even neighbouring Iran, scarcely a font of Islamic moderation, has decried
the move. The Taliban shrug, saying the issue is a domestic matter and the
order is irreversible.
Running Afghanistan is a lonely business. Only three countries in the world
-- Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates -- recognize the
Taliban as a legitimate government.
When cultural vandalism on this scale rears its head, it's a reminder of
Interested in photojournalism from war/conflict areas all over the the globe?
Check out Postcards From Hell at http://www.ciriello.com
Nothing comparable on the Net !
Now, You can also subscribe to Postcards From Hell newsletter

*****************************************The News*****************************************

By COLLEEN BARRY, Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM (AP) - An Italian photographer was killed Wednesday by

machine-gun fire from an Israeli tank as he walked with Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank city of Ramallah, witnesses said. He was the first foreign journalist slain during the current Mideast conflict.

Just an hour after Raffaele Ciriello, 42, was shot near Ramallah's central Manara Square, a French photographer working nearby was hit by shrapnel from a small bomb apparently planted by Palestinian fighters.

In separate incidents, an Egyptian television reporter and a correspondent for the Qatar-based satellite broadcaster Al-Jazeera said they came under fire from Israeli soldiers in Ramallah. Both were unharmed.

Also, about 20 Israeli troops searched the building that houses The Associated Press office in Ramallah. Several soldiers entered the office and inspected the premises for several minutes.

After a door-to-door search, soldiers took up positions on the floor upstairs, drawing some fire from Palestinian gunmen.

Six APTN staff and one AP photographer left the building safely, and an Israeli army spokesman told the AP that the soldiers had been ordered to leave the building. However, when the journalists left the soldiers were still in place.

Italy demanded a thorough investigation of Ciriello's death.

Israel's Foreign Ministry and the Israeli army expressed regret over the death of Ciriello, a free-lance photographer who was accredited to the Italian daily Corriere della Sera - but officials said the investigation had not yet determined the source of the gunfire.

``There has been crossfire for several days,'' Lt. Col. Olivier Rafowicz said. ``We are not rushing to conclusions.''

Israeli tanks on Tuesday took control of Ramallah, the Palestinian political and commercial center in the West Bank, just north of Jerusalem. On Tuesday, a hotel where 40 journalists were recording the army's moves - Ciriello among them - came under direct fire. No one was injured.

Reporters Without Borders has put the number of journalists wounded by gunfire since September 2000 at 40, and the events over the past two days in Ramallah drew condemnation from press advocates.

Video footage from the Italian television network RAI TV showed Ciriello taking photographs with a camera with a small lens from just a few feet behind two Palestinian gunmen - with several others close by - matching a description given by one of the journalists at the scene, Amadeo Ricucci.

Ricucci said they had been following armed Palestinians through the center of Ramallah. Until then, he said, there was no fighting in the area.

``Suddenly a tank appeared from a corner and it opened fire,'' Ricucci said. He said the tank fired from about 150 yards without warning, striking Ciriello in the stomach. Ricucci and a RAI TV cameraman were not hurt.

The RAI footage does not show a tank, or Ciriello being shot. At one point, two bursts of gunfire can be heard off camera, and the next scene showed Ciriello lying wounded near an intersection. The gunmen pulled him to cover, glancing up the street at the apparent source of the fire.

Rafowicz, the army spokesman, said the footage raised many questions about what happened, noting that after the journalist is shot, the gunmen make no obvious moves to take cover.

``Maybe they know where the shot is coming from, maybe they know there is no real threat,'' Rafowicz said. ``Before drawing conclusions, people should check very carefully the footage.''

Other Israeli officials said journalists were endangering themselves by staying close to armed gunmen whom Israel considered legitimate targets.

Though Ciriello, has covered conflicts in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan (news - web sites) and elsewhere since 1992, he arrived just days ago on his first stint in the Mideast. He often worked with Maria Grazia Cutuli, a 39-year-old reporter for Corriere della Sera, who was killed with three other journalists in an ambush in Afghanistan in November.


Israeli shots kill journalist
Suzanne Goldenberg in Ramallah
Thursday March 14, 2002

An Italian photographer was killed by Israeli machine-gun fire in fierce fighting in central Ramallah yesterday. He was the first foreign journalist to be killed in the 18 months of the Palestinian uprising.

A French photographer was injured by shrapnel yesterday and an Egyptian cameraman was hit when Israeli troops shot at his car - which was marked with TV signs - but the bullets were stopped by his flak jacket.

Raffaele Ciriello, 42, a veteran of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Kosovo working for Corriere della Sera, was inching his way around the lanes off Manara Square, the scene of heavy gunbattles between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants for much of the day.

Italian journalists in the area said a tank opened fire when he pulled out a small video camera. He was taken to hospital almost immediately but died soon afterwards.

The Israeli army said the source of the fire was uncertain and it was investigating.

The Italian foreign ministry asked the Israeli ambassador for a full explanation.

The International Press Institute said the shooting seemed to be "part of a concerted strategy by the Israeli army to control reports on the recent surge in armed hostilities in the region".

At least 40 foreign journalists have been shot by Israeli live or rubber bullets during the uprising, according to Reporters Without Borders.