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AP video journalist, translator killed in Gaza

KDWN

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Six people – including an Associated Press video journalist – were killed Wednesday when leftover ordnance believed to have been dropped in an Israeli airstrike blew up in the Gaza Strip.

Simone Camilli and his Palestinian translator, Ali Shehda Abu Afash, were covering the aftermath of the war between Israel and Islamic militants in Gaza when they were killed. The blast occurred as Gaza police engineers were trying to defuse unexploded ordnance fired by Israel.

Four police engineers also were killed, police said. Three people, including AP photographer Hatem Moussa, were badly injured.

Moussa told a colleague that they were filming the scene when an initial explosion went off. He said he was hit by shrapnel and began to run when there was a second blast, which knocked him out. He woke up in a hospital and later underwent surgery before he was transferred to a hospital in Israel for more advanced care.

Police officials in Gaza said the blast took place at a special site set up in the northern town of Beit Lahiya where authorities have collected unexploded ordnance to be defused. The cause of the blast was not immediately known.

Hamas police spokesman Ayman al-Batniji said there had clearly been a `mistake’ and there would be an investigation. He said the Palestinians collect unexploded munitions but usually get help from international experts in disposing of them. “We never deal with these things alone,” he said, adding that police believe only a small fraction of unexploded bombs from the recent fighting have been recovered.

An official said an Israeli tank shell caused the first explosion, triggering the more powerful secondary blast that included several bombs, including unexploded missiles dropped in Israeli airstrikes. The Israeli military carried out nearly 5,000 airstrikes in a month of fighting.

Hamas police posted photos of what it said was the site shortly before the explosion showing a senior bomb disposal expert surveying the area with piles of unexploded bombs behind him. Even after the blast, the lot, surrounded by a low wall, was strewn with piles of unexploded shells. There appeared to be about 10 missiles dropped by Israeli warplanes and dozens of tank shells.

Iyad al-Bouzm, a spokesman for Gaza’s Interior Ministry, estimated that Israel dropped about 10,000 tons of explosives on Gaza, including shells fired by tanks, artillery batteries and gunboats, as well as more powerful missiles delivered in airstrikes. He said there was no estimate on how many unexploded shells remained.

Camilli became the first foreign journalist killed in the Gaza conflict, which took more than 1,900 Palestinian lives and 67 on the Israeli side. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a U.S.-based press-freedom advocacy group, four Palestinian journalists or media workers were previously killed in the fighting.

The 35-year-old Italian national had worked for the AP since 2005, when he was hired in Rome. He relocated to Jerusalem in 2006, and often covered assignments in Gaza. He had been based recently in Beirut, returning to Gaza after the war began last month.

He is survived by a longtime partner and a 3-year-old daughter in Beirut, as well as his parents and two sisters.

Camilli is the 33rd AP staffer to die in pursuit of the news since AP was founded in 1846, and the second this year. On April 4, AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed and veteran AP correspondent Kathy Gannon was badly wounded by a gunman in Afghanistan.

“Simone was well known throughout Europe, and especially to our video team in London, where his death has hit AP deeply,” Gary Pruitt, the AP’s chief executive, said in a memo to staffers.

“As all of you know, this has been a very difficult year for AP,” he said. “As conflict and violence grows around the world, our work becomes more important but also more dangerous. We take every precaution we can to protect the brave journalists who staff our front lines. I never cease to be amazed at their courage.”

He said the AP was providing assistance to Camilli’s family.

Pope Francis prayed for Camilli and Abu Afash aboard the papal plane en route to South Korea after he was informed of their deaths by the Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, who noted the tremendous risks taken by journalists in covering conflict.

Francis, who came to the back of the plane to greet the press, was clearly moved.

“I have to make a silent prayer for Simone Camilli, one of yours, who today left us in service. Let us pray in silence,” the pontiff said.

Abu Afash, a 36-year-old Gaza resident, is survived by his wife and two daughters, ages 7 and 2 1/2. He often worked with the international media as a translator and news assistant, and worked as a part-time administrative assistant for Agence France-Presse.

Hundreds of people attended Abu Afash’s funeral in Gaza City. Mourners sobbed and shrieked in grief, with many people kissing Abu Afash on the forehead before his body was taken away for burial.

“He is not a journalist. He’s not a terrorist, nor a politician. He’s an innocent man who loves to help everyone,” said his wife, Shireen, a doctor who heads the neonatal unit at the al-Nasr Pediatrics Hospital in Gaza City and spent much of the war treating the wounded.

“He was happy to help the foreign journalists in the war. He was not afraid. He knew that if he died, he will go to heaven,” she said. The couple was to celebrate their eighth wedding anniversary in four days.

Camilli was remembered by colleagues as a consummate storyteller – a passionate and talented newsman with an eye for detail and the ability to convey events with powerful video images that touched people around the world.

Camilli loved reporting from Gaza so much that he recently turned down an assignment in Iraq to come to the seaside strip, said Najib Jobain, the AP’s chief producer in Gaza.

“He was my brother. I have known him for almost 10 years. He was so happy to be with me working in Gaza,” Jobain said. “He was asked, `Do you want to go to Irbil or Gaza?’ He said, `I’ll go to Gaza.'”

Diaa Hadid, a longtime colleague, described Camilli as warm and funny. “To think he is not here is really just too much,” she said.

Camilli began his career in Rome while still a university student at the Sapienza University, helping cover Pope John Paul II.

Over the years, he worked on major stories across Europe and the Middle East, including the independence of Kosovo, the war in Georgia, the arrest of Bosnian Serb military leader Radko Mladic, the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon, Hamas’ takeover of Gaza, the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. Most recently, he had covered the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Syrian refugee crisis.

Chris Slaney, the former senior producer in Jerusalem, said he brought Camilli to the region during Israel’s war against Hezbollah in 2006, and “he immersed himself in the Middle East story, which unfortunately is mostly a story of conflict.”

Tomislav Skaro, the AP’s Middle East regional editor for video, said praised Camilli’s “incredible eye for detail” and said he was able to personalize stories and portray human drama.

“He was incredibly calm, mature beyond his age, gentle and the friend that everybody wants to have,” Skaro said.

Federman reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writer Karin Laub in Gaza City and Nicole Winfield aboard the papal plane contributed to this report.

AP video journalist, translator killed in Gaza

KDWN

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Six people – including an Associated Press video journalist – were killed Wednesday when leftover ordnance believed to have been dropped in an Israeli airstrike blew up in the Gaza Strip.

Simone Camilli and his Palestinian translator, Ali Shehda Abu Afash, were covering the aftermath of the war between Israel and Islamic militants in Gaza when they were killed. The blast occurred as Gaza police engineers were trying to defuse unexploded ordnance fired by Israel.

Four police engineers also were killed, police said. Three people, including AP photographer Hatem Moussa, were badly injured.

Moussa told a colleague that they were filming the scene when an initial explosion went off. He said he was hit by shrapnel and began to run when there was a second blast, which knocked him out. He woke up in a hospital and later underwent surgery before he was transferred to a hospital in Israel for more advanced care.

Police officials in Gaza said the blast took place at a special site set up in the northern town of Beit Lahiya where authorities have collected unexploded ordnance to be defused. The cause of the blast was not immediately known.

Hamas police spokesman Ayman al-Batniji said there had clearly been a `mistake’ and there would be an investigation. He said the Palestinians collect unexploded munitions but usually get help from international experts in disposing of them. “We never deal with these things alone,” he said, adding that police believe only a small fraction of unexploded bombs from the recent fighting have been recovered.

An official said an Israeli tank shell caused the first explosion, triggering the more powerful secondary blast that included several bombs, including unexploded missiles dropped in Israeli airstrikes. The Israeli military carried out nearly 5,000 airstrikes in a month of fighting.

Hamas police posted photos of what it said was the site shortly before the explosion showing a senior bomb disposal expert surveying the area with piles of unexploded bombs behind him. Even after the blast, the lot, surrounded by a low wall, was strewn with piles of unexploded shells. There appeared to be about 10 missiles dropped by Israeli warplanes and dozens of tank shells.

Iyad al-Bouzm, a spokesman for Gaza’s Interior Ministry, estimated that Israel dropped about 10,000 tons of explosives on Gaza, including shells fired by tanks, artillery batteries and gunboats, as well as more powerful missiles delivered in airstrikes. He said there was no estimate on how many unexploded shells remained.

Camilli became the first foreign journalist killed in the Gaza conflict, which took more than 1,900 Palestinian lives and 67 on the Israeli side. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a U.S.-based press-freedom advocacy group, four Palestinian journalists or media workers were previously killed in the fighting.

The 35-year-old Italian national had worked for the AP since 2005, when he was hired in Rome. He relocated to Jerusalem in 2006, and often covered assignments in Gaza. He had been based recently in Beirut, returning to Gaza after the war began last month.

He is survived by a longtime partner and a 3-year-old daughter in Beirut, as well as his parents and two sisters.

Camilli is the 33rd AP staffer to die in pursuit of the news since AP was founded in 1846, and the second this year. On April 4, AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed and veteran AP correspondent Kathy Gannon was badly wounded by a gunman in Afghanistan.

“Simone was well known throughout Europe, and especially to our video team in London, where his death has hit AP deeply,” Gary Pruitt, the AP’s chief executive, said in a memo to staffers.

“As all of you know, this has been a very difficult year for AP,” he said. “As conflict and violence grows around the world, our work becomes more important but also more dangerous. We take every precaution we can to protect the brave journalists who staff our front lines. I never cease to be amazed at their courage.”

He said the AP was providing assistance to Camilli’s family.

Pope Francis prayed for Camilli and Abu Afash aboard the papal plane en route to South Korea after he was informed of their deaths by the Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, who noted the tremendous risks taken by journalists in covering conflict.

Francis, who came to the back of the plane to greet the press, was clearly moved.

“I have to make a silent prayer for Simone Camilli, one of yours, who today left us in service. Let us pray in silence,” the pontiff said.

Abu Afash, a 36-year-old Gaza resident, is survived by his wife and two daughters, ages 7 and 2 1/2. He often worked with the international media as a translator and news assistant, and worked as a part-time administrative assistant for Agence France-Presse.

Hundreds of people attended Abu Afash’s funeral in Gaza City. Mourners sobbed and shrieked in grief, with many people kissing Abu Afash on the forehead before his body was taken away for burial.

“He is not a journalist. He’s not a terrorist, nor a politician. He’s an innocent man who loves to help everyone,” said his wife, Shireen, a doctor who heads the neonatal unit at the al-Nasr Pediatrics Hospital in Gaza City and spent much of the war treating the wounded.

“He was happy to help the foreign journalists in the war. He was not afraid. He knew that if he died, he will go to heaven,” she said. The couple was to celebrate their eighth wedding anniversary in four days.

Camilli was remembered by colleagues as a consummate storyteller – a passionate and talented newsman with an eye for detail and the ability to convey events with powerful video images that touched people around the world.

Camilli loved reporting from Gaza so much that he recently turned down an assignment in Iraq to come to the seaside strip, said Najib Jobain, the AP’s chief producer in Gaza.

“He was my brother. I have known him for almost 10 years. He was so happy to be with me working in Gaza,” Jobain said. “He was asked, `Do you want to go to Irbil or Gaza?’ He said, `I’ll go to Gaza.'”

Diaa Hadid, a longtime colleague, described Camilli as warm and funny. “To think he is not here is really just too much,” she said.

Camilli began his career in Rome while still a university student at the Sapienza University, helping cover Pope John Paul II.

Over the years, he worked on major stories across Europe and the Middle East, including the independence of Kosovo, the war in Georgia, the arrest of Bosnian Serb military leader Radko Mladic, the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon, Hamas’ takeover of Gaza, the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. Most recently, he had covered the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Syrian refugee crisis.

Chris Slaney, the former senior producer in Jerusalem, said he brought Camilli to the region during Israel’s war against Hezbollah in 2006, and “he immersed himself in the Middle East story, which unfortunately is mostly a story of conflict.”

Tomislav Skaro, the AP’s Middle East regional editor for video, said praised Camilli’s “incredible eye for detail” and said he was able to personalize stories and portray human drama.

“He was incredibly calm, mature beyond his age, gentle and the friend that everybody wants to have,” Skaro said.

Federman reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writer Karin Laub in Gaza City and Nicole Winfield aboard the papal plane contributed to this report.

AP video journalist, translator killed in Gaza

KDWN

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Six people – including an Associated Press video journalist – were killed Wednesday when leftover ordnance believed to have been dropped in an Israeli airstrike blew up in the Gaza Strip.

Simone Camilli and his Palestinian translator, Ali Shehda Abu Afash, were covering the aftermath of the war between Israel and Islamic militants in Gaza when they were killed. The blast occurred as Gaza police engineers were trying to defuse unexploded ordnance fired by Israel.

Four police engineers also were killed, police said. Three people, including AP photographer Hatem Moussa, were badly injured.

Moussa told a colleague that they were filming the scene when an initial explosion went off. He said he was hit by shrapnel and began to run when there was a second blast, which knocked him out. He woke up in a hospital and later underwent surgery before he was transferred to a hospital in Israel for more advanced care.

Police officials in Gaza said the blast took place at a special site set up in the northern town of Beit Lahiya where authorities have collected unexploded ordnance to be defused. The cause of the blast was not immediately known.

Hamas police spokesman Ayman al-Batniji said there had clearly been a `mistake’ and there would be an investigation. He said the Palestinians collect unexploded munitions but usually get help from international experts in disposing of them. “We never deal with these things alone,” he said, adding that police believe only a small fraction of unexploded bombs from the recent fighting have been recovered.

An official said an Israeli tank shell caused the first explosion, triggering the more powerful secondary blast that included several bombs, including unexploded missiles dropped in Israeli airstrikes. The Israeli military carried out nearly 5,000 airstrikes in a month of fighting.

Hamas police posted photos of what it said was the site shortly before the explosion showing a senior bomb disposal expert surveying the area with piles of unexploded bombs behind him. Even after the blast, the lot, surrounded by a low wall, was strewn with piles of unexploded shells. There appeared to be about 10 missiles dropped by Israeli warplanes and dozens of tank shells.

Iyad al-Bouzm, a spokesman for Gaza’s Interior Ministry, estimated that Israel dropped about 10,000 tons of explosives on Gaza, including shells fired by tanks, artillery batteries and gunboats, as well as more powerful missiles delivered in airstrikes. He said there was no estimate on how many unexploded shells remained.

Camilli became the first foreign journalist killed in the Gaza conflict, which took more than 1,900 Palestinian lives and 67 on the Israeli side. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a U.S.-based press-freedom advocacy group, four Palestinian journalists or media workers were previously killed in the fighting.

The 35-year-old Italian national had worked for the AP since 2005, when he was hired in Rome. He relocated to Jerusalem in 2006, and often covered assignments in Gaza. He had been based recently in Beirut, returning to Gaza after the war began last month.

He is survived by a longtime partner and a 3-year-old daughter in Beirut, as well as his parents and two sisters.

Camilli is the 33rd AP staffer to die in pursuit of the news since AP was founded in 1846, and the second this year. On April 4, AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed and veteran AP correspondent Kathy Gannon was badly wounded by a gunman in Afghanistan.

“Simone was well known throughout Europe, and especially to our video team in London, where his death has hit AP deeply,” Gary Pruitt, the AP’s chief executive, said in a memo to staffers.

“As all of you know, this has been a very difficult year for AP,” he said. “As conflict and violence grows around the world, our work becomes more important but also more dangerous. We take every precaution we can to protect the brave journalists who staff our front lines. I never cease to be amazed at their courage.”

He said the AP was providing assistance to Camilli’s family.

Pope Francis prayed for Camilli and Abu Afash aboard the papal plane en route to South Korea after he was informed of their deaths by the Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, who noted the tremendous risks taken by journalists in covering conflict.

Francis, who came to the back of the plane to greet the press, was clearly moved.

“I have to make a silent prayer for Simone Camilli, one of yours, who today left us in service. Let us pray in silence,” the pontiff said.

Abu Afash, a 36-year-old Gaza resident, is survived by his wife and two daughters, ages 7 and 2 1/2. He often worked with the international media as a translator and news assistant, and worked as a part-time administrative assistant for Agence France-Presse.

Hundreds of people attended Abu Afash’s funeral in Gaza City. Mourners sobbed and shrieked in grief, with many people kissing Abu Afash on the forehead before his body was taken away for burial.

“He is not a journalist. He’s not a terrorist, nor a politician. He’s an innocent man who loves to help everyone,” said his wife, Shireen, a doctor who heads the neonatal unit at the al-Nasr Pediatrics Hospital in Gaza City and spent much of the war treating the wounded.

“He was happy to help the foreign journalists in the war. He was not afraid. He knew that if he died, he will go to heaven,” she said. The couple was to celebrate their eighth wedding anniversary in four days.

Camilli was remembered by colleagues as a consummate storyteller – a passionate and talented newsman with an eye for detail and the ability to convey events with powerful video images that touched people around the world.

Camilli loved reporting from Gaza so much that he recently turned down an assignment in Iraq to come to the seaside strip, said Najib Jobain, the AP’s chief producer in Gaza.

“He was my brother. I have known him for almost 10 years. He was so happy to be with me working in Gaza,” Jobain said. “He was asked, `Do you want to go to Irbil or Gaza?’ He said, `I’ll go to Gaza.'”

Diaa Hadid, a longtime colleague, described Camilli as warm and funny. “To think he is not here is really just too much,” she said.

Camilli began his career in Rome while still a university student at the Sapienza University, helping cover Pope John Paul II.

Over the years, he worked on major stories across Europe and the Middle East, including the independence of Kosovo, the war in Georgia, the arrest of Bosnian Serb military leader Radko Mladic, the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon, Hamas’ takeover of Gaza, the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. Most recently, he had covered the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Syrian refugee crisis.

Chris Slaney, the former senior producer in Jerusalem, said he brought Camilli to the region during Israel’s war against Hezbollah in 2006, and “he immersed himself in the Middle East story, which unfortunately is mostly a story of conflict.”

Tomislav Skaro, the AP’s Middle East regional editor for video, said praised Camilli’s “incredible eye for detail” and said he was able to personalize stories and portray human drama.

“He was incredibly calm, mature beyond his age, gentle and the friend that everybody wants to have,” Skaro said.

Federman reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writer Karin Laub in Gaza City and Nicole Winfield aboard the papal plane contributed to this report.

AP video journalist, translator killed in Gaza

KDWN

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Six people – including an Associated Press video journalist – were killed Wednesday when leftover ordnance believed to have been dropped in an Israeli airstrike blew up in the Gaza Strip.

Simone Camilli and his Palestinian translator, Ali Shehda Abu Afash, were covering the aftermath of the war between Israel and Islamic militants in Gaza when they were killed. The blast occurred as Gaza police engineers were trying to defuse unexploded ordnance fired by Israel.

Four police engineers also were killed, police said. Three people, including AP photographer Hatem Moussa, were badly injured.

Moussa told a colleague that they were filming the scene when an initial explosion went off. He said he was hit by shrapnel and began to run when there was a second blast, which knocked him out. He woke up in a hospital and later underwent surgery before he was transferred to a hospital in Israel for more advanced care.

Police officials in Gaza said the blast took place at a special site set up in the northern town of Beit Lahiya where authorities have collected unexploded ordnance to be defused. The cause of the blast was not immediately known.

Hamas police spokesman Ayman al-Batniji said there had clearly been a `mistake’ and there would be an investigation. He said the Palestinians collect unexploded munitions but usually get help from international experts in disposing of them. “We never deal with these things alone,” he said, adding that police believe only a small fraction of unexploded bombs from the recent fighting have been recovered.

An official said an Israeli tank shell caused the first explosion, triggering the more powerful secondary blast that included several bombs, including unexploded missiles dropped in Israeli airstrikes. The Israeli military carried out nearly 5,000 airstrikes in a month of fighting.

Hamas police posted photos of what it said was the site shortly before the explosion showing a senior bomb disposal expert surveying the area with piles of unexploded bombs behind him. Even after the blast, the lot, surrounded by a low wall, was strewn with piles of unexploded shells. There appeared to be about 10 missiles dropped by Israeli warplanes and dozens of tank shells.

Iyad al-Bouzm, a spokesman for Gaza’s Interior Ministry, estimated that Israel dropped about 10,000 tons of explosives on Gaza, including shells fired by tanks, artillery batteries and gunboats, as well as more powerful missiles delivered in airstrikes. He said there was no estimate on how many unexploded shells remained.

Camilli became the first foreign journalist killed in the Gaza conflict, which took more than 1,900 Palestinian lives and 67 on the Israeli side. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a U.S.-based press-freedom advocacy group, four Palestinian journalists or media workers were previously killed in the fighting.

The 35-year-old Italian national had worked for the AP since 2005, when he was hired in Rome. He relocated to Jerusalem in 2006, and often covered assignments in Gaza. He had been based recently in Beirut, returning to Gaza after the war began last month.

He is survived by a longtime partner and a 3-year-old daughter in Beirut, as well as his parents and two sisters.

Camilli is the 33rd AP staffer to die in pursuit of the news since AP was founded in 1846, and the second this year. On April 4, AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed and veteran AP correspondent Kathy Gannon was badly wounded by a gunman in Afghanistan.

“Simone was well known throughout Europe, and especially to our video team in London, where his death has hit AP deeply,” Gary Pruitt, the AP’s chief executive, said in a memo to staffers.

“As all of you know, this has been a very difficult year for AP,” he said. “As conflict and violence grows around the world, our work becomes more important but also more dangerous. We take every precaution we can to protect the brave journalists who staff our front lines. I never cease to be amazed at their courage.”

He said the AP was providing assistance to Camilli’s family.

Pope Francis prayed for Camilli and Abu Afash aboard the papal plane en route to South Korea after he was informed of their deaths by the Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, who noted the tremendous risks taken by journalists in covering conflict.

Francis, who came to the back of the plane to greet the press, was clearly moved.

“I have to make a silent prayer for Simone Camilli, one of yours, who today left us in service. Let us pray in silence,” the pontiff said.

Abu Afash, a 36-year-old Gaza resident, is survived by his wife and two daughters, ages 7 and 2 1/2. He often worked with the international media as a translator and news assistant, and worked as a part-time administrative assistant for Agence France-Presse.

Hundreds of people attended Abu Afash’s funeral in Gaza City. Mourners sobbed and shrieked in grief, with many people kissing Abu Afash on the forehead before his body was taken away for burial.

“He is not a journalist. He’s not a terrorist, nor a politician. He’s an innocent man who loves to help everyone,” said his wife, Shireen, a doctor who heads the neonatal unit at the al-Nasr Pediatrics Hospital in Gaza City and spent much of the war treating the wounded.

“He was happy to help the foreign journalists in the war. He was not afraid. He knew that if he died, he will go to heaven,” she said. The couple was to celebrate their eighth wedding anniversary in four days.

Camilli was remembered by colleagues as a consummate storyteller – a passionate and talented newsman with an eye for detail and the ability to convey events with powerful video images that touched people around the world.

Camilli loved reporting from Gaza so much that he recently turned down an assignment in Iraq to come to the seaside strip, said Najib Jobain, the AP’s chief producer in Gaza.

“He was my brother. I have known him for almost 10 years. He was so happy to be with me working in Gaza,” Jobain said. “He was asked, `Do you want to go to Irbil or Gaza?’ He said, `I’ll go to Gaza.'”

Diaa Hadid, a longtime colleague, described Camilli as warm and funny. “To think he is not here is really just too much,” she said.

Camilli began his career in Rome while still a university student at the Sapienza University, helping cover Pope John Paul II.

Over the years, he worked on major stories across Europe and the Middle East, including the independence of Kosovo, the war in Georgia, the arrest of Bosnian Serb military leader Radko Mladic, the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon, Hamas’ takeover of Gaza, the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. Most recently, he had covered the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Syrian refugee crisis.

Chris Slaney, the former senior producer in Jerusalem, said he brought Camilli to the region during Israel’s war against Hezbollah in 2006, and “he immersed himself in the Middle East story, which unfortunately is mostly a story of conflict.”

Tomislav Skaro, the AP’s Middle East regional editor for video, said praised Camilli’s “incredible eye for detail” and said he was able to personalize stories and portray human drama.

“He was incredibly calm, mature beyond his age, gentle and the friend that everybody wants to have,” Skaro said.

Federman reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writer Karin Laub in Gaza City and Nicole Winfield aboard the papal plane contributed to this report.

AP video journalist, translator killed in Gaza

KDWN

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Six people – including an Associated Press video journalist – were killed Wednesday when leftover ordnance believed to have been dropped in an Israeli airstrike blew up in the Gaza Strip.

Simone Camilli and his Palestinian translator, Ali Shehda Abu Afash, were covering the aftermath of the war between Israel and Islamic militants in Gaza when they were killed. The blast occurred as Gaza police engineers were trying to defuse unexploded ordnance fired by Israel.

Four police engineers also were killed, police said. Three people, including AP photographer Hatem Moussa, were badly injured.

Moussa told a colleague that they were filming the scene when an initial explosion went off. He said he was hit by shrapnel and began to run when there was a second blast, which knocked him out. He woke up in a hospital and later underwent surgery before he was transferred to a hospital in Israel for more advanced care.

Police officials in Gaza said the blast took place at a special site set up in the northern town of Beit Lahiya where authorities have collected unexploded ordnance to be defused. The cause of the blast was not immediately known.

Hamas police spokesman Ayman al-Batniji said there had clearly been a `mistake’ and there would be an investigation. He said the Palestinians collect unexploded munitions but usually get help from international experts in disposing of them. “We never deal with these things alone,” he said, adding that police believe only a small fraction of unexploded bombs from the recent fighting have been recovered.

An official said an Israeli tank shell caused the first explosion, triggering the more powerful secondary blast that included several bombs, including unexploded missiles dropped in Israeli airstrikes. The Israeli military carried out nearly 5,000 airstrikes in a month of fighting.

Hamas police posted photos of what it said was the site shortly before the explosion showing a senior bomb disposal expert surveying the area with piles of unexploded bombs behind him. Even after the blast, the lot, surrounded by a low wall, was strewn with piles of unexploded shells. There appeared to be about 10 missiles dropped by Israeli warplanes and dozens of tank shells.

Iyad al-Bouzm, a spokesman for Gaza’s Interior Ministry, estimated that Israel dropped about 10,000 tons of explosives on Gaza, including shells fired by tanks, artillery batteries and gunboats, as well as more powerful missiles delivered in airstrikes. He said there was no estimate on how many unexploded shells remained.

Camilli became the first foreign journalist killed in the Gaza conflict, which took more than 1,900 Palestinian lives and 67 on the Israeli side. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a U.S.-based press-freedom advocacy group, four Palestinian journalists or media workers were previously killed in the fighting.

The 35-year-old Italian national had worked for the AP since 2005, when he was hired in Rome. He relocated to Jerusalem in 2006, and often covered assignments in Gaza. He had been based recently in Beirut, returning to Gaza after the war began last month.

He is survived by a longtime partner and a 3-year-old daughter in Beirut, as well as his parents and two sisters.

Camilli is the 33rd AP staffer to die in pursuit of the news since AP was founded in 1846, and the second this year. On April 4, AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed and veteran AP correspondent Kathy Gannon was badly wounded by a gunman in Afghanistan.

“Simone was well known throughout Europe, and especially to our video team in London, where his death has hit AP deeply,” Gary Pruitt, the AP’s chief executive, said in a memo to staffers.

“As all of you know, this has been a very difficult year for AP,” he said. “As conflict and violence grows around the world, our work becomes more important but also more dangerous. We take every precaution we can to protect the brave journalists who staff our front lines. I never cease to be amazed at their courage.”

He said the AP was providing assistance to Camilli’s family.

Pope Francis prayed for Camilli and Abu Afash aboard the papal plane en route to South Korea after he was informed of their deaths by the Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, who noted the tremendous risks taken by journalists in covering conflict.

Francis, who came to the back of the plane to greet the press, was clearly moved.

“I have to make a silent prayer for Simone Camilli, one of yours, who today left us in service. Let us pray in silence,” the pontiff said.

Abu Afash, a 36-year-old Gaza resident, is survived by his wife and two daughters, ages 7 and 2 1/2. He often worked with the international media as a translator and news assistant, and worked as a part-time administrative assistant for Agence France-Presse.

Hundreds of people attended Abu Afash’s funeral in Gaza City. Mourners sobbed and shrieked in grief, with many people kissing Abu Afash on the forehead before his body was taken away for burial.

“He is not a journalist. He’s not a terrorist, nor a politician. He’s an innocent man who loves to help everyone,” said his wife, Shireen, a doctor who heads the neonatal unit at the al-Nasr Pediatrics Hospital in Gaza City and spent much of the war treating the wounded.

“He was happy to help the foreign journalists in the war. He was not afraid. He knew that if he died, he will go to heaven,” she said. The couple was to celebrate their eighth wedding anniversary in four days.

Camilli was remembered by colleagues as a consummate storyteller – a passionate and talented newsman with an eye for detail and the ability to convey events with powerful video images that touched people around the world.

Camilli loved reporting from Gaza so much that he recently turned down an assignment in Iraq to come to the seaside strip, said Najib Jobain, the AP’s chief producer in Gaza.

“He was my brother. I have known him for almost 10 years. He was so happy to be with me working in Gaza,” Jobain said. “He was asked, `Do you want to go to Irbil or Gaza?’ He said, `I’ll go to Gaza.'”

Diaa Hadid, a longtime colleague, described Camilli as warm and funny. “To think he is not here is really just too much,” she said.

Camilli began his career in Rome while still a university student at the Sapienza University, helping cover Pope John Paul II.

Over the years, he worked on major stories across Europe and the Middle East, including the independence of Kosovo, the war in Georgia, the arrest of Bosnian Serb military leader Radko Mladic, the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon, Hamas’ takeover of Gaza, the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. Most recently, he had covered the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Syrian refugee crisis.

Chris Slaney, the former senior producer in Jerusalem, said he brought Camilli to the region during Israel’s war against Hezbollah in 2006, and “he immersed himself in the Middle East story, which unfortunately is mostly a story of conflict.”

Tomislav Skaro, the AP’s Middle East regional editor for video, said praised Camilli’s “incredible eye for detail” and said he was able to personalize stories and portray human drama.

“He was incredibly calm, mature beyond his age, gentle and the friend that everybody wants to have,” Skaro said.

Federman reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writer Karin Laub in Gaza City and Nicole Winfield aboard the papal plane contributed to this report.

AP video journalist, translator killed in Gaza

KDWN

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Six people – including an Associated Press video journalist – were killed Wednesday when leftover ordnance believed to have been dropped in an Israeli airstrike blew up in the Gaza Strip.

Simone Camilli and his Palestinian translator, Ali Shehda Abu Afash, were covering the aftermath of the war between Israel and Islamic militants in Gaza when they were killed. The blast occurred as Gaza police engineers were trying to defuse unexploded ordnance fired by Israel.

Four police engineers also were killed, police said. Three people, including AP photographer Hatem Moussa, were badly injured.

Moussa told a colleague that they were filming the scene when an initial explosion went off. He said he was hit by shrapnel and began to run when there was a second blast, which knocked him out. He woke up in a hospital and later underwent surgery before he was transferred to a hospital in Israel for more advanced care.

Police officials in Gaza said the blast took place at a special site set up in the northern town of Beit Lahiya where authorities have collected unexploded ordnance to be defused. The cause of the blast was not immediately known.

Hamas police spokesman Ayman al-Batniji said there had clearly been a `mistake’ and there would be an investigation. He said the Palestinians collect unexploded munitions but usually get help from international experts in disposing of them. “We never deal with these things alone,” he said, adding that police believe only a small fraction of unexploded bombs from the recent fighting have been recovered.

An official said an Israeli tank shell caused the first explosion, triggering the more powerful secondary blast that included several bombs, including unexploded missiles dropped in Israeli airstrikes. The Israeli military carried out nearly 5,000 airstrikes in a month of fighting.

Hamas police posted photos of what it said was the site shortly before the explosion showing a senior bomb disposal expert surveying the area with piles of unexploded bombs behind him. Even after the blast, the lot, surrounded by a low wall, was strewn with piles of unexploded shells. There appeared to be about 10 missiles dropped by Israeli warplanes and dozens of tank shells.

Iyad al-Bouzm, a spokesman for Gaza’s Interior Ministry, estimated that Israel dropped about 10,000 tons of explosives on Gaza, including shells fired by tanks, artillery batteries and gunboats, as well as more powerful missiles delivered in airstrikes. He said there was no estimate on how many unexploded shells remained.

Camilli became the first foreign journalist killed in the Gaza conflict, which took more than 1,900 Palestinian lives and 67 on the Israeli side. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a U.S.-based press-freedom advocacy group, four Palestinian journalists or media workers were previously killed in the fighting.

The 35-year-old Italian national had worked for the AP since 2005, when he was hired in Rome. He relocated to Jerusalem in 2006, and often covered assignments in Gaza. He had been based recently in Beirut, returning to Gaza after the war began last month.

He is survived by a longtime partner and a 3-year-old daughter in Beirut, as well as his parents and two sisters.

Camilli is the 33rd AP staffer to die in pursuit of the news since AP was founded in 1846, and the second this year. On April 4, AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed and veteran AP correspondent Kathy Gannon was badly wounded by a gunman in Afghanistan.

“Simone was well known throughout Europe, and especially to our video team in London, where his death has hit AP deeply,” Gary Pruitt, the AP’s chief executive, said in a memo to staffers.

“As all of you know, this has been a very difficult year for AP,” he said. “As conflict and violence grows around the world, our work becomes more important but also more dangerous. We take every precaution we can to protect the brave journalists who staff our front lines. I never cease to be amazed at their courage.”

He said the AP was providing assistance to Camilli’s family.

Pope Francis prayed for Camilli and Abu Afash aboard the papal plane en route to South Korea after he was informed of their deaths by the Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, who noted the tremendous risks taken by journalists in covering conflict.

Francis, who came to the back of the plane to greet the press, was clearly moved.

“I have to make a silent prayer for Simone Camilli, one of yours, who today left us in service. Let us pray in silence,” the pontiff said.

Abu Afash, a 36-year-old Gaza resident, is survived by his wife and two daughters, ages 7 and 2 1/2. He often worked with the international media as a translator and news assistant, and worked as a part-time administrative assistant for Agence France-Presse.

Hundreds of people attended Abu Afash’s funeral in Gaza City. Mourners sobbed and shrieked in grief, with many people kissing Abu Afash on the forehead before his body was taken away for burial.

“He is not a journalist. He’s not a terrorist, nor a politician. He’s an innocent man who loves to help everyone,” said his wife, Shireen, a doctor who heads the neonatal unit at the al-Nasr Pediatrics Hospital in Gaza City and spent much of the war treating the wounded.

“He was happy to help the foreign journalists in the war. He was not afraid. He knew that if he died, he will go to heaven,” she said. The couple was to celebrate their eighth wedding anniversary in four days.

Camilli was remembered by colleagues as a consummate storyteller – a passionate and talented newsman with an eye for detail and the ability to convey events with powerful video images that touched people around the world.

Camilli loved reporting from Gaza so much that he recently turned down an assignment in Iraq to come to the seaside strip, said Najib Jobain, the AP’s chief producer in Gaza.

“He was my brother. I have known him for almost 10 years. He was so happy to be with me working in Gaza,” Jobain said. “He was asked, `Do you want to go to Irbil or Gaza?’ He said, `I’ll go to Gaza.'”

Diaa Hadid, a longtime colleague, described Camilli as warm and funny. “To think he is not here is really just too much,” she said.

Camilli began his career in Rome while still a university student at the Sapienza University, helping cover Pope John Paul II.

Over the years, he worked on major stories across Europe and the Middle East, including the independence of Kosovo, the war in Georgia, the arrest of Bosnian Serb military leader Radko Mladic, the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon, Hamas’ takeover of Gaza, the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. Most recently, he had covered the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Syrian refugee crisis.

Chris Slaney, the former senior producer in Jerusalem, said he brought Camilli to the region during Israel’s war against Hezbollah in 2006, and “he immersed himself in the Middle East story, which unfortunately is mostly a story of conflict.”

Tomislav Skaro, the AP’s Middle East regional editor for video, said praised Camilli’s “incredible eye for detail” and said he was able to personalize stories and portray human drama.

“He was incredibly calm, mature beyond his age, gentle and the friend that everybody wants to have,” Skaro said.

Federman reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writer Karin Laub in Gaza City and Nicole Winfield aboard the papal plane contributed to this report.

AP video journalist, translator killed in Gaza

KDWN

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Six people – including an Associated Press video journalist – were killed Wednesday when leftover ordnance believed to have been dropped in an Israeli airstrike blew up in the Gaza Strip.

Simone Camilli and his Palestinian translator, Ali Shehda Abu Afash, were covering the aftermath of the war between Israel and Islamic militants in Gaza when they were killed. The blast occurred as Gaza police engineers were trying to defuse unexploded ordnance fired by Israel.

Four police engineers also were killed, police said. Three people, including AP photographer Hatem Moussa, were badly injured.

Moussa told a colleague that they were filming the scene when an initial explosion went off. He said he was hit by shrapnel and began to run when there was a second blast, which knocked him out. He woke up in a hospital and later underwent surgery before he was transferred to a hospital in Israel for more advanced care.

Police officials in Gaza said the blast took place at a special site set up in the northern town of Beit Lahiya where authorities have collected unexploded ordnance to be defused. The cause of the blast was not immediately known.

An official said an Israeli tank shell caused the first explosion, triggering the more powerful secondary blast that included several bombs, including unexploded missiles dropped in Israeli airstrikes. The Israeli military carried out nearly 5,000 airstrikes in a month of fighting.

Hamas police posted photos of what it said was the site shortly before the explosion showing a senior bomb disposal expert surveying the area with piles of unexploded bombs behind him. Even after the blast, the lot, surrounded by a low wall, was strewn with piles of unexploded shells. There appeared to be about 10 missiles dropped by Israeli warplanes and dozens of tank shells.

Iyad al-Bouzm, a spokesman for Gaza’s Interior Ministry, estimated that Israel dropped about 10,000 tons of explosives on Gaza, including shells fired by tanks, artillery batteries and gunboats, as well as more powerful missiles delivered in airstrikes. He said there was no estimate on how many unexploded shells remained.

Camilli became the first foreign journalist killed in the Gaza conflict, which took more than 1,900 Palestinian lives and 67 on the Israeli side. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a U.S.-based press-freedom advocacy group, four Palestinian journalists or media workers were previously killed in the fighting.

The 35-year-old Italian national had worked for the AP since 2005, when he was hired in Rome. He relocated to Jerusalem in 2006, and often covered assignments in Gaza. He had been based recently in Beirut, returning to Gaza after the war began last month.

He is survived by a longtime partner and a 3-year-old daughter in Beirut, as well as his parents and two sisters.

Camilli is the 33rd AP staffer to die in pursuit of the news since AP was founded in 1846, and the second this year. On April 4, AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed and veteran AP correspondent Kathy Gannon was badly wounded by a gunman in Afghanistan.

“Simone was well known throughout Europe, and especially to our video team in London, where his death has hit AP deeply,” Gary Pruitt, the AP’s chief executive, said in a memo to staffers.

“As all of you know, this has been a very difficult year for AP,” he said. “As conflict and violence grows around the world, our work becomes more important but also more dangerous. We take every precaution we can to protect the brave journalists who staff our front lines. I never cease to be amazed at their courage.”

He said the AP was providing assistance to Camilli’s family.

Pope Francis prayed for Camilli and Abu Afash aboard the papal plane en route to South Korea after he was informed of their deaths by the Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, who noted the tremendous risks taken by journalists in covering conflict.

Francis, who came to the back of the plane to greet the press, was clearly moved.

“I have to make a silent prayer for Simone Camilli, one of yours, who today left us in service. Let us pray in silence,” the pontiff said.

Abu Afash, a 36-year-old Gaza resident, is survived by his wife and two daughters, ages 7 and 2 1/2. He often worked with the international media as a translator and news assistant, and worked as a part-time administrative assistant for Agence France-Presse.

Hundreds of people attended Abu Afash’s funeral in Gaza City. Mourners sobbed and shrieked in grief, with many people kissing Abu Afash on the forehead before his body was taken away for burial.

“He is not a journalist. He’s not a terrorist, nor a politician. He’s an innocent man who loves to help everyone,” said his wife, Shireen, a doctor who heads the neonatal unit at the al-Nasr Pediatrics Hospital in Gaza City and spent much of the war treating the wounded.

“He was happy to help the foreign journalists in the war. He was not afraid. He knew that if he died, he will go to heaven,” she said. The couple was to celebrate their eighth wedding anniversary in four days.

Camilli was remembered by colleagues as a consummate storyteller – a passionate and talented newsman with an eye for detail and the ability to convey events with powerful video images that touched people around the world.

Camilli loved reporting from Gaza so much that he recently turned down an assignment in Iraq to come to the seaside strip, said Najib Jobain, the AP’s chief producer in Gaza.

“He was my brother. I have known him for almost 10 years. He was so happy to be with me working in Gaza,” Jobain said. “He was asked, `Do you want to go to Irbil or Gaza?’ He said, `I’ll go to Gaza.'”

Diaa Hadid, a longtime colleague, described Camilli as warm and funny. “To think he is not here is really just too much,” she said.

Camilli began his career in Rome while still a university student at the Sapienza University, helping cover Pope John Paul II.

Over the years, he worked on major stories across Europe and the Middle East, including the independence of Kosovo, the war in Georgia, the arrest of Bosnian Serb military leader Radko Mladic, the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon, Hamas’ takeover of Gaza, the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. Most recently, he had covered the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Syrian refugee crisis.

Chris Slaney, the former senior producer in Jerusalem, said he brought Camilli to the region during Israel’s war against Hezbollah in 2006, and “he immersed himself in the Middle East story, which unfortunately is mostly a story of conflict.”

Tomislav Skaro, the AP’s Middle East regional editor for video, said praised Camilli’s “incredible eye for detail” and said he was able to personalize stories and portray human drama.

“He was incredibly calm, mature beyond his age, gentle and the friend that everybody wants to have,” Skaro said.

Federman reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writer Karin Laub in Gaza City and Nicole Winfield aboard the papal plane contributed to this report.

AP video journalist, translator killed in Gaza

KDWN

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Six people – including an Associated Press video journalist – were killed Wednesday when leftover ordnance believed to have been dropped in an Israeli airstrike blew up in the Gaza Strip.

Simone Camilli and his Palestinian translator, Ali Shehda Abu Afash, were covering the aftermath of the war between Israel and Islamic militants in Gaza when they were killed. The blast occurred as Gaza police engineers were trying to defuse unexploded ordnance fired by Israel.

Four police engineers also were killed, police said. Three people, including AP photographer Hatem Moussa, were badly injured.

Moussa told a colleague that they were filming the scene when an initial explosion went off. He said he was hit by shrapnel and began to run when there was a second blast, which knocked him out. He woke up in a hospital and later underwent surgery before he was transferred to a hospital in Israel for more advanced care.

Police officials in Gaza said the blast took place at a special site set up in the northern town of Beit Lahiya where authorities have collected unexploded ordnance to be defused. The cause of the blast was not immediately known.

An official said an Israeli tank shell caused the first explosion, triggering the more powerful secondary blast that included several bombs, including unexploded missiles dropped in Israeli airstrikes. The Israeli military carried out nearly 5,000 airstrikes in a month of fighting.

Hamas police posted photos of what it said was the site shortly before the explosion showing a senior bomb disposal expert surveying the area with piles of unexploded bombs behind him. Even after the blast, the lot, surrounded by a low wall, was strewn with piles of unexploded shells. There appeared to be about 10 missiles dropped by Israeli warplanes and dozens of tank shells.

Iyad al-Bouzm, a spokesman for Gaza’s Interior Ministry, estimated that Israel dropped about 10,000 tons of explosives on Gaza, including shells fired by tanks, artillery batteries and gunboats, as well as more powerful missiles delivered in airstrikes. He said there was no estimate on how many unexploded shells remained.

Camilli became the first foreign journalist killed in the Gaza conflict, which took more than 1,900 Palestinian lives and 67 on the Israeli side. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a U.S.-based press-freedom advocacy group, four Palestinian journalists or media workers were previously killed in the fighting.

The 35-year-old Italian national had worked for the AP since 2005, when he was hired in Rome. He relocated to Jerusalem in 2006, and often covered assignments in Gaza. He had been based recently in Beirut, returning to Gaza after the war began last month.

He is survived by a longtime partner and a 3-year-old daughter in Beirut, as well as his parents and two sisters.

Camilli is the 33rd AP staffer to die in pursuit of the news since AP was founded in 1846, and the second this year. On April 4, AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed and veteran AP correspondent Kathy Gannon was badly wounded by a gunman in Afghanistan.

“Simone was well known throughout Europe, and especially to our video team in London, where his death has hit AP deeply,” Gary Pruitt, the AP’s chief executive, said in a memo to staffers.

“As all of you know, this has been a very difficult year for AP,” he said. “As conflict and violence grows around the world, our work becomes more important but also more dangerous. We take every precaution we can to protect the brave journalists who staff our front lines. I never cease to be amazed at their courage.”

He said the AP was providing assistance to Camilli’s family.

Pope Francis prayed for Camilli and Abu Afash aboard the papal plane en route to South Korea after he was informed of their deaths by the Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, who noted the tremendous risks taken by journalists in covering conflict.

Francis, who came to the back of the plane to greet the press, was clearly moved.

“I have to make a silent prayer for Simone Camilli, one of yours, who today left us in service. Let us pray in silence,” the pontiff said.

Abu Afash, a 36-year-old Gaza resident, is survived by his wife and two daughters, ages 7 and 2 1/2. He often worked with the international media as a translator and news assistant, and worked as a part-time administrative assistant for Agence France-Presse.

Hundreds of people attended Abu Afash’s funeral in Gaza City. Mourners sobbed and shrieked in grief, with many people kissing Abu Afash on the forehead before his body was taken away for burial.

“He is not a journalist. He’s not a terrorist, nor a politician. He’s an innocent man who loves to help everyone,” said his wife, Shireen, a doctor who heads the neonatal unit at the al-Nasr Pediatrics Hospital in Gaza City and spent much of the war treating the wounded.

“He was happy to help the foreign journalists in the war. He was not afraid. He knew that if he died, he will go to heaven,” she said. The couple was to celebrate their eighth wedding anniversary in four days.

Camilli was remembered by colleagues as a consummate storyteller – a passionate and talented newsman with an eye for detail and the ability to convey events with powerful video images that touched people around the world.

Camilli loved reporting from Gaza so much that he recently turned down an assignment in Iraq to come to the seaside strip, said Najib Jobain, the AP’s chief producer in Gaza.

“He was my brother. I have known him for almost 10 years. He was so happy to be with me working in Gaza,” Jobain said. “He was asked, `Do you want to go to Irbil or Gaza?’ He said, `I’ll go to Gaza.'”

Diaa Hadid, a longtime colleague, described Camilli as warm and funny. “To think he is not here is really just too much,” she said.

Camilli began his career in Rome while still a university student at the Sapienza University, helping cover Pope John Paul II.

Over the years, he worked on major stories across Europe and the Middle East, including the independence of Kosovo, the war in Georgia, the arrest of Bosnian Serb military leader Radko Mladic, the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon, Hamas’ takeover of Gaza, the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. Most recently, he had covered the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Syrian refugee crisis.

Chris Slaney, the former senior producer in Jerusalem, said he brought Camilli to the region during Israel’s war against Hezbollah in 2006, and “he immersed himself in the Middle East story, which unfortunately is mostly a story of conflict.”

Tomislav Skaro, the AP’s Middle East regional editor for video, said praised Camilli’s “incredible eye for detail” and said he was able to personalize stories and portray human drama.

“He was incredibly calm, mature beyond his age, gentle and the friend that everybody wants to have,” Skaro said.

Federman reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writer Karin Laub in Gaza City and Nicole Winfield aboard the papal plane contributed to this report.

AP video journalist, translator killed in Gaza

KDWN

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Associated Press video journalist and a freelance Palestinian translator were killed Wednesday when ordnance left over from the Israeli-Hamas war exploded as they were reporting on the conflict’s aftermath.

Simone Camilli and Ali Shehda Abu Afash died in a blast as Gaza police engineers were trying to defuse unexploded ordnance fired by Israel during the recent fighting.

Police said four police engineers also were killed. Three people, including AP photographer Hatem Moussa, were badly injured.

Moussa told a colleague that they were filming the scene when an initial explosion went off. He said he was hit by shrapnel and began to run when there was a second blast, which knocked him out. He woke up in a hospital and later underwent surgery.

Police said the blast took place at a special site in the northern town of Beit Lahiya where authorities have collected unexploded ordnance to be defused. An official said an Israeli tank shell caused the first explosion, triggering a more powerful blast that included unexploded missiles dropped in Israeli airstrikes during a month of fighting.

Camilli, a 35-year-old Italian national, had worked for the AP since 2005, when he was hired in Rome. He relocated to Jerusalem in 2006, and often covered assignments in Gaza. He had been based recently in Beirut, returning to Gaza after the war began last month.

He is survived by a longtime partner and a 3-year-old daughter in Beirut, as well as his parents and two sisters.

Camilli is the 33rd AP staffer to die in pursuit of the news since AP was founded in 1846, and the second this year. On April 4, AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed and veteran AP correspondent Kathy Gannon was badly wounded by a gunman in Afghanistan.

He is the first foreign journalist killed in the Gaza conflict, which took more than 1,900 Palestinian lives and 67 on the Israeli side.

Abu Afash, a 36-year-old Gaza resident, is survived by his wife and two daughters, ages 5 and 6. He often worked with the international media as a translator and news assistant.

“Simone was well known throughout Europe, and especially to our video team in London, where his death has hit AP deeply,” Gary Pruitt, the AP’s chief executive, said in a memo to staffers.

“As all of you know, this has been a very difficult year for AP,” he said. “As conflict and violence grows around the world, our work becomes more important but also more dangerous. We take every precaution we can to protect the brave journalists who staff our front lines. I never cease to be amazed at their courage.”

He said the AP was providing assistance to Camilli’s family.

Camilli was a welcome face in Gaza who loved the story so much that he recently turned down an assignment in Iraq to come to the seaside strip, said Najib Jobain, the AP’s chief producer in Gaza.

“He was my brother. I have known him for almost 10 years. He was so happy to be with me working in Gaza,” Jobain said. “He was asked, `Do you want to go to Irbil or Gaza?’ He said, `I’ll go to Gaza.'”

Diaa Hadid, a longtime colleague, described Camilli as warm and funny. “To think he is not here is really just too much,” she said.

Camilli began his career in Rome while still a university student at the Sapienza University, helping cover Pope John Paul II.

Over the years, he worked on major stories across Europe and the Middle East, including the independence of Kosovo, the war in Georgia, the arrest of Bosnian Serb military leader Radko Mladic, the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon, Hamas’ takeover of Gaza, the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. Most recently, he had covered the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Syrian refugee crisis.

Chris Slaney, the former senior producer in Jerusalem, said he brought Camilli to the region during Israel’s war against Hezbollah in 2006, and “he immersed himself in the Middle East story, which unfortunately is mostly a story of conflict.”

Tomislav Skaro, the AP’s Middle East regional editor for video, said praised Camilli’s “incredible eye for detail” and said he was able to personalize stories and portray human drama.

“He was incredibly calm, mature beyond his age, gentle and the friend that everybody wants to have,” Skaro said.

Federman reported from Jerusalem.

AP video journalist, translator killed in Gaza

KDWN

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Associated Press video journalist and a freelance Palestinian translator were killed Wednesday when ordnance left over from the Israeli-Hamas war exploded as they were reporting on the conflict’s aftermath.

Simone Camilli and Ali Shehda Abu Afash died in a blast as Gaza police engineers were trying to defuse unexploded ordnance fired by Israel during the recent fighting.

Police said four police engineers also were killed. Three people, including AP photographer Hatem Moussa, were badly injured.

Moussa told a colleague that they were filming the scene when an initial explosion went off. He said he was hit by shrapnel and began to run when there was a second blast, which knocked him out. He woke up in a hospital and later underwent surgery.

Police said the blast took place at a special site in the northern town of Beit Lahiya where authorities have collected unexploded ordnance to be defused. An official said an Israeli tank shell caused the first explosion, triggering a more powerful blast that included unexploded missiles dropped in Israeli airstrikes during a month of fighting.

Camilli, a 35-year-old Italian national, had worked for the AP since 2005, when he was hired in Rome. He relocated to Jerusalem in 2006, and often covered assignments in Gaza. He had been based recently in Beirut, returning to Gaza after the war began last month.

He is survived by a longtime partner and a 3-year-old daughter in Beirut, as well as his parents and two sisters.

Camilli is the 33rd AP staffer to die in pursuit of the news since AP was founded in 1846, and the second this year. On April 4, AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed and veteran AP correspondent Kathy Gannon was badly wounded by a gunman in Afghanistan.

He is the first foreign journalist killed in the Gaza conflict, which took more than 1,900 Palestinian lives and 67 on the Israeli side.

Abu Afash, a 36-year-old Gaza resident, is survived by his wife and two daughters, ages 5 and 6. He often worked with the international media as a translator and news assistant.

“Simone was well known throughout Europe, and especially to our video team in London, where his death has hit AP deeply,” Gary Pruitt, the AP’s chief executive, said in a memo to staffers.

“As all of you know, this has been a very difficult year for AP,” he said. “As conflict and violence grows around the world, our work becomes more important but also more dangerous. We take every precaution we can to protect the brave journalists who staff our front lines. I never cease to be amazed at their courage.”

He said the AP was providing assistance to Camilli’s family.

Camilli was a welcome face in Gaza who loved the story so much that he recently turned down an assignment in Iraq to come to the seaside strip, said Najib Jobain, the AP’s chief producer in Gaza.

“He was my brother. I have known him for almost 10 years. He was so happy to be with me working in Gaza,” Jobain said. “He was asked, `Do you want to go to Irbil or Gaza?’ He said, `I’ll go to Gaza.'”

Diaa Hadid, a longtime colleague, described Camilli as warm and funny. “To think he is not here is really just too much,” she said.

Camilli began his career in Rome while still a university student at the Sapienza University, helping cover Pope John Paul II.

Over the years, he worked on major stories across Europe and the Middle East, including the independence of Kosovo, the war in Georgia, the arrest of Bosnian Serb military leader Radko Mladic, the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon, Hamas’ takeover of Gaza, the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. Most recently, he had covered the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Syrian refugee crisis.

Chris Slaney, the former senior producer in Jerusalem, said he brought Camilli to the region during Israel’s war against Hezbollah in 2006, and “he immersed himself in the Middle East story, which unfortunately is mostly a story of conflict.”

Tomislav Skaro, the AP’s Middle East regional editor for video, said praised Camilli’s “incredible eye for detail” and said he was able to personalize stories and portray human drama.

“He was incredibly calm, mature beyond his age, gentle and the friend that everybody wants to have,” Skaro said.

Federman reported from Jerusalem.

AP video journalist, translator killed in Gaza

KDWN

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Associated Press video journalist and a freelance Palestinian translator were killed Wednesday when ordnance left over from the Israeli-Hamas war exploded as they were reporting on the conflict’s aftermath.

Simone Camilli and Ali Shehda Abu Afash died in a blast as Gaza police engineers were trying to defuse unexploded ordnance fired by Israel during the recent fighting.

Police said four police engineers also were killed. Three people, including AP photographer Hatem Moussa, were badly injured.

Moussa told a colleague that they were filming the scene when an initial explosion went off. He said he was hit by shrapnel and began to run when there was a second blast, which knocked him out. He woke up in a hospital and later underwent surgery.

Police said the blast took place at a special site in the northern town of Beit Lahiya where authorities have collected unexploded ordnance to be defused. An official said an Israeli tank shell caused the first explosion, triggering a more powerful blast that included unexploded missiles dropped in Israeli airstrikes during a month of fighting.

Camilli, a 35-year-old Italian national, had worked for the AP since 2005, when he was hired in Rome. He relocated to Jerusalem in 2006, and often covered assignments in Gaza. He had been based recently in Beirut, returning to Gaza after the war began last month.

He is survived by a longtime partner and a 3-year-old daughter in Beirut, as well as his parents and two sisters.

Camilli is the 33rd AP staffer to die in pursuit of the news since AP was founded in 1846, and the second this year. On April 4, AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed and veteran AP correspondent Kathy Gannon was badly wounded by a gunman in Afghanistan.

He is the first foreign journalist killed in the Gaza conflict, which took more than 1,900 Palestinian lives and 67 on the Israeli side.

Abu Afash, a 36-year-old Gaza resident, is survived by his wife and two daughters, ages 5 and 6. He often worked with the international media as a translator and news assistant.

“Simone was well known throughout Europe, and especially to our video team in London, where his death has hit AP deeply,” Gary Pruitt, the AP’s chief executive, said in a memo to staffers.

“As all of you know, this has been a very difficult year for AP,” he said. “As conflict and violence grows around the world, our work becomes more important but also more dangerous. We take every precaution we can to protect the brave journalists who staff our front lines. I never cease to be amazed at their courage.”

He said the AP was providing assistance to Camilli’s family.

Camilli was a welcome face in Gaza who loved the story so much that he recently turned down an assignment in Iraq to come to the seaside strip, said Najib Jobain, the AP’s chief producer in Gaza.

“He was my brother. I have known him for almost 10 years. He was so happy to be with me working in Gaza,” Jobain said. “He was asked, `Do you want to go to Irbil or Gaza?’ He said, `I’ll go to Gaza.'”

Diaa Hadid, a longtime colleague, described Camilli as warm and funny. “To think he is not here is really just too much,” she said.

Camilli began his career in Rome while still a university student at the Sapienza University, helping cover Pope John Paul II.

Over the years, he worked on major stories across Europe and the Middle East, including the independence of Kosovo, the war in Georgia, the arrest of Bosnian Serb military leader Radko Mladic, the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon, Hamas’ takeover of Gaza, the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. Most recently, he had covered the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Syrian refugee crisis.

Chris Slaney, the former senior producer in Jerusalem, said he brought Camilli to the region during Israel’s war against Hezbollah in 2006, and “he immersed himself in the Middle East story, which unfortunately is mostly a story of conflict.”

Tomislav Skaro, the AP’s Middle East regional editor for video, said praised Camilli’s “incredible eye for detail” and said he was able to personalize stories and portray human drama.

“He was incredibly calm, mature beyond his age, gentle and the friend that everybody wants to have,” Skaro said.

Federman reported from Jerusalem.

AP video journalist, translator killed in Gaza

KDWN

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Associated Press video journalist and a freelance Palestinian translator were killed Wednesday when ordnance left over from the Israeli-Hamas war exploded as they were reporting on the conflict’s aftermath.

Simone Camilli and Ali Shehda Abu Afash died in a blast as Gaza police engineers were trying to defuse unexploded ordnance fired by Israel during the recent fighting.

Police said four police engineers also were killed. Three people, including AP photographer Hatem Moussa, were badly injured.

Moussa told a colleague that they were filming the scene when an initial explosion went off. He said he was hit by shrapnel and began to run when there was a second blast, which knocked him out. He woke up in a hospital and later underwent surgery.

Police said the blast took place at a special site in the northern town of Beit Lahiya where authorities have collected unexploded ordnance to be defused. An official said an Israeli tank shell caused the first explosion, triggering a more powerful blast that included unexploded missiles dropped in Israeli airstrikes during a month of fighting.

Camilli, a 35-year-old Italian national, had worked for the AP since 2005, when he was hired in Rome. He relocated to Jerusalem in 2006, and often covered assignments in Gaza. He had been based recently in Beirut, returning to Gaza after the war began last month.

He is survived by a longtime partner and a 3-year-old daughter in Beirut, as well as his parents and two sisters.

Camilli is the 33rd AP staffer to die in pursuit of the news since AP was founded in 1846, and the second this year. On April 4, AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed and veteran AP correspondent Kathy Gannon was badly wounded by a gunman in Afghanistan.

He is the first foreign journalist killed in the Gaza conflict, which took more than 1,900 Palestinian lives and 67 on the Israeli side.

Abu Afash, a 36-year-old Gaza resident, is survived by his wife and two daughters, ages 5 and 6. He often worked with the international media as a translator and news assistant.

“Simone was well known throughout Europe, and especially to our video team in London, where his death has hit AP deeply,” Gary Pruitt, the AP’s chief executive, said in a memo to staffers.

“As all of you know, this has been a very difficult year for AP,” he said. “As conflict and violence grows around the world, our work becomes more important but also more dangerous. We take every precaution we can to protect the brave journalists who staff our front lines. I never cease to be amazed at their courage.”

He said the AP was providing assistance to Camilli’s family.

Camilli was a welcome face in Gaza who loved the story so much that he recently turned down an assignment in Iraq to come to the seaside strip, said Najib Jobain, the AP’s chief producer in Gaza.

“He was my brother. I have known him for almost 10 years. He was so happy to be with me working in Gaza,” Jobain said. “He was asked, `Do you want to go to Irbil or Gaza?’ He said, `I’ll go to Gaza.'”

Diaa Hadid, a longtime colleague, described Camilli as warm and funny. “To think he is not here is really just too much,” she said.

Camilli began his career in Rome while still a university student at the Sapienza University, helping cover Pope John Paul II.

Over the years, he worked on major stories across Europe and the Middle East, including the independence of Kosovo, the war in Georgia, the arrest of Bosnian Serb military leader Radko Mladic, the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon, Hamas’ takeover of Gaza, the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. Most recently, he had covered the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Syrian refugee crisis.

Chris Slaney, the former senior producer in Jerusalem, said he brought Camilli to the region during Israel’s war against Hezbollah in 2006, and “he immersed himself in the Middle East story, which unfortunately is mostly a story of conflict.”

Tomislav Skaro, the AP’s Middle East regional editor for video, said praised Camilli’s “incredible eye for detail” and said he was able to personalize stories and portray human drama.

“He was incredibly calm, mature beyond his age, gentle and the friend that everybody wants to have,” Skaro said.

Federman reported from Jerusalem.

AP video journalist, translator killed in Gaza

KDWN

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Associated Press video journalist and a freelance Palestinian translator were killed Wednesday when ordnance left over from the Israeli-Hamas war exploded as they were reporting on the conflict’s aftermath.

Simone Camilli and Ali Shehda Abu Afash died when an unexploded missile believed to have been dropped in an Israeli airstrike blew up as Gaza police engineers were working to neutralize it in the northern town of Beit Lahiya.

Police said three police engineers also were killed. Four people, including AP photographer Hatem Moussa, were badly injured.

Moussa told a colleague that they were filming the scene when an initial explosion went off. He said he was hit by shrapnel and began to run when there was a second blast, which knocked him out. He woke up in a hospital and later underwent surgery.

Camilli, a 35-year-old Italian national, had worked for the AP since 2005, when he was hired in Rome. He relocated to Jerusalem in 2006, and often covered assignments in Gaza. He had been based recently in Beirut, returning to Gaza after the war began last month.

He is survived by a longtime partner and a 3-year-old daughter in Beirut, as well as his father, Pier Luigi, in Italy.

Camilli is the 33rd AP staffer to die in pursuit of the news since AP was founded in 1846, and the second this year. On April 4, AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed and veteran AP correspondent Kathy Gannon was badly wounded by a gunman in Afghanistan.

He is the first foreign journalist killed in the Gaza conflict, which took more than 1,900 Palestinian lives and 67 on the Israeli side.

Abu Afash, a 36-year-old Gaza resident, is survived by his wife and two daughters, ages 5 and 6. He often worked with the international media as a translator and news assistant.

“Simone was well known throughout Europe, and especially to our video team in London, where his death has hit AP deeply,” Gary Pruitt, the AP’s chief executive, said in a memo to staffers.

“As all of you know, this has been a very difficult year for AP,” he said. “As conflict and violence grows around the world, our work becomes more important but also more dangerous. We take every precaution we can to protect the brave journalists who staff our front lines. I never cease to be amazed at their courage.”

He said the AP was providing assistance to Camilli’s family.

Camilli was a welcome face in Gaza who loved the story so much that he recently turned down an assignment in Iraq to come to the seaside strip, said Najib Jobain, the AP’s chief producer in Gaza.

“He was my brother. I have known him for almost 10 years. He was so happy to be with me working in Gaza,” Jobain said. “He was asked, `Do you want to go to Irbil or Gaza?’ He said, `I’ll go to Gaza.'”

Diaa Hadid, a longtime colleague, described Camilli as warm and funny. “To think he is not here is really just too much,” she said.

Camilli began his career in Rome while still a university student at the Sapienza University, helping cover Pope John Paul II.

Over the years, he worked on major stories across Europe and the Middle East, including the independence of Kosovo, the war in Georgia, the arrest of Bosnian Serb military leader Radko Mladic, the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon, Hamas’ takeover of Gaza, the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. Most recently, he had covered the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Syrian refugee crisis.

Chris Slaney, the former senior producer in Jerusalem, said he brought Camilli to the region during Israel’s war against Hezbollah in 2006, and “he immersed himself in the Middle East story, which unfortunately is mostly a story of conflict.”

Tomislav Skaro, the AP’s Middle East regional editor for video, said praised Camilli’s “incredible eye for detail” and said he was able to personalize stories and portray human drama.

“He was incredibly calm, mature beyond his age, gentle and the friend that everybody wants to have,” Skaro said.

Federman reported from Jerusalem.

AP video journalist, translator killed in Gaza

KDWN

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Associated Press video journalist and a freelance Palestinian translator working with him were killed Wednesday when ordnance left over from Israeli-Hamas fighting exploded as they were reporting on the aftermath of the war in the Gaza Strip.

Simone Camilli and Ali Shehda Abu Afash died when an unexploded missile believed to have been dropped in an Israeli airstrike blew up as Gazan police engineers were working to neutralize it in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya.

Police said three police engineers were also killed. Four people, including AP photographer Hatem Moussa, were badly injured.

Moussa told a colleague that they were filming the scene when an initial explosion went off. He said he was hit by shrapnel and began to run away when there was a second explosion. The blast knocked him unconscious and he woke up in a hospital. Moussa was later placed into surgery.

Camilli, an Italian national, had worked for The Associated Press since 2005, when he was hired in Rome. He relocated to Jerusalem in 2006, and often covered assignments in Gaza. In recent months, he had been based in Beirut, returning to Gaza after the war broke out last month.

He leaves behind a longtime partner and a 3-year-old daughter in Beirut, as well as his father, Pier Luigi, in Italy.

Camilli, 35, is the 33rd AP staffer to die in pursuit of the news since AP was founded in 1846, and the second this year. On April 4, AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed and veteran AP correspondent Kathy Gannon was badly wounded by a gunman in Afghanistan.

He is the first foreign journalist killed in the Gaza conflict, which took more than 1,900 Palestinian lives and 67 on the Israeli side.

Abu Afash, a 36-year-old Gaza resident, leaves behind a wife and two daughters, ages 5 and 6. He often worked with the international media as a translator and news assistant.

“Simone was well known throughout Europe, and especially to our video team in London, where his death has hit AP deeply,” Gary Pruitt, the AP’s chief executive, said in a memo to staffers.

“As all of you know, this has been a very difficult year for AP,” he said. “As conflict and violence grows around the world, our work becomes more important but also more dangerous. We take every precaution we can to protect the brave journalists who staff our front lines. I never cease to be amazed at their courage,” he said. He said the AP was providing assistance to Camilli’s family.

Najib Jobain, the AP’s chief producer in Gaza, said Camilli was a welcome face in Gaza who loved the story so much that he recently turned down an assignment in Iraq to come to the seaside strip.

“He was my brother. I have known him for almost 10 years. He was so happy to be with me working in Gaza,” Jobain said. “He was asked, `Do you want to go to Irbil or Gaza?’ He said, `I’ll go to Gaza.'”

Diaa Hadid, a longtime colleague, said she arrived with Camilli in Jerusalem in 2006 and they became close friends. She described him as a “warm, lovely, funny, chain-smoking guy who could never find his own damned lighter, always up for a story and adventure kind of guy.”

“To think he is not here is really just too much,” she said.

Camilli began his career in Rome as an assistant during the illness of Pope John Paul II, while he was still a university student at the Sapienza University of Rome.

Over the years, he covered major stories across Europe and the Middle East, including the independence of Kosovo, the war in Georgia, the arrest of Bosnian Serb military leader Radko Mladic, the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon, Hamas’ takeover of Gaza in 2007 and repeated rounds of fighting between Israel and the militant group, the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. Most recently, he had covered the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Syrian refugee crisis.

“From the moment he arrived in the Rome bureau he wanted to learn everything,” said Maria Grazia Murru, the AP’s senior producer in Rome. “He was passionate about wanting to tell people’s stories and wanted to be where the story was all the time. He wanted to learn everything and be the first, he was never happy waiting for images to happen. … I will miss his enthusiasm, his Roman accent and his smile.”

Chris Slaney, the former senior producer in Jerusalem, said he brought Camilli to Israel during the country’s war against Hezbollah in 2006.

“From that moment, he immersed himself in the Middle East story, which unfortunately is mostly a story of conflict,” Slaney said. He said Camilli was “passionately interested in art and music” and had run workshops for young Palestinian artists. “I shall miss him greatly on a personal and professional level.”

Tomislav Skaro, the AP’s Middle East regional editor for video, said Camilli was one of the AP’s “key videojournalists” in the region.

“His video had a signature, an incredible eye for detail and was able to personalize stories and portray human drama,” he said. “He was incredibly calm, mature beyond his age, gentle and the friend that everybody wants to have.”

Federman reported from Jerusalem

AP video journalist, translator killed in Gaza

KDWN

BEIT LAHIYA, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Associated Press video journalist and a freelance Palestinian translator assisting him were killed in an ordnance explosion Wednesday while working on an assignment about the aftermath about the recent war in the Gaza Strip.

Simone Camilli and Ali Shehda Abu Afash died when ordnance left over from fighting between Israel and Islamic militants blew up as Gazan police engineers were working to neutralize it in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya.

Police said three police engineers were also killed, while four people, including AP photographer Hatem Moussa, were badly injured.

Camilli, an Italian national, had worked for The Associated Press since being hired as a freelancer in Rome in 2005. He relocated to Jerusalem in 2006, and often covered assignments in Gaza.

Najib Jobain, the AP’s chief producer in Gaza, said Camilli was a welcome face in Gaza who loved the story so much that he recently turned down an assignment in Iraq to come to the seaside strip.

“He was my brother. I have known him for almost 10 years. He was so happy to be with me working in Gaza,” Jobain said. “He was asked, `Do you want to go to Irbil or Gaza?’ He said, `I’ll go to Gaza.'”

Camilli, 35, is the first foreign journalist killed in the Gaza conflict, which took more than 1,900 Palestinian lives and 67 on the Israeli side. He leaves behind his longtime partner and a 3-year-old daughter.

Abu Afash, a 36-year-old Gaza resident, leaves behind a wife and two daughters, ages 5 and 6. He often worked with the international media as a translator and news assistant.

AP video journalist, translator killed in Gaza

KDWN

BEIT LAHIYA, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Associated Press video journalist and a freelance Palestinian translator assisting him were killed in an ordnance explosion Wednesday while working on an assignment about the aftermath about the recent war in the Gaza Strip.

Simone Camilli and Ali Shehda Abu Afash died when ordnance left over from fighting between Israel and Islamic militants blew up as Gazan police engineers were working to neutralize it in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya.

Police said three police engineers were also killed, while four people, including AP photographer Hatem Moussa, were badly injured.

Camilli, an Italian national, had worked for The Associated Press since being hired as a freelancer in Rome in 2005. He relocated to Jerusalem in 2006, and often covered assignments in Gaza.

Najib Jobain, the AP’s chief producer in Gaza, said Camilli was a welcome face in Gaza who loved the story so much that he recently turned down an assignment in Iraq to come to the seaside strip.

“He was my brother. I have known him for almost 10 years. He was so happy to be with me working in Gaza,” Jobain said. “He was asked, `Do you want to go to Irbil or Gaza?’ He said, `I’ll go to Gaza.'”

Camilli, 35, is the first foreign journalist killed in the Gaza conflict, which took more than 1,900 Palestinian lives and 67 on the Israeli side. He leaves behind his longtime partner and a 3-year-old daughter.

Abu Afash, a 36-year-old Gaza resident, leaves behind a wife and two daughters, ages 5 and 6. He often worked with the international media as a translator and news assistant.