In the war between Israel and Hamas, an average of one journalist or media employee is killed every day, the head of the world body representing the profession said on Wednesday, adding that the conflict could not be compared to anyone else.

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Since the beginning of the war on October 7, about 60 journalists have been killed, which is already close to the number of journalists killed during the entire Vietnam War half a century ago. Other brutal wars in the Middle East have not come close to the intensity of the current one.

"In war, I mean, classic war, I can say that in Syria, in Iraq, in the former Yugoslavia, we have not seen this kind of massacre," Anthony Belanger, secretary general of the International Federation of Journalists, told The Associated Press. This continues after the end of a week-long ceasefire in Gaza, he added. "Unfortunately, this weekend – after the ceasefire ended, we received bad news – at least three or four were killed," he said.

Palestinian reporter learns of friend's death on air

Belanger said the group mourns the deaths of about 60 of its colleagues, including at least 51 Palestinian and Israeli and Lebanese journalists. Most of them were killed during Israeli bombings in the Gaza Strip. He said Israeli journalists were also killed during the Hamas attack in southern Israel that started the war.

The secretary-general of the journalists' organization also said that these figures are based on all available sources that the federation uses for its annual report. Along with human casualties, the editorial premises of many media organizations in Gaza have been destroyed, Belanger said. He estimated that there were about 1000,<> journalists and media officials in Gaza before the conflict, and now none of them can get out of there.

Yet local journalists continue to do their job amidst the rubble, said Nasser Abu Bakker, chairman of the Palestinian journalism syndicate. "They have lost their families and continue to work," he said. "They're homeless, but they're still working. No food, no security for them, no families. Also, if their families are still alive, they are not with their families because they live or sleep in hospitals," he added.

Belanger said Israeli authorities were not responding. "I called the Israeli government, but they didn't answer. And when I went to Palestine a few days ago, I suggested to the government press service that we make a meeting simply to make a follow-up check on this call. But no one answers," he said.

Israel insists it is making every effort to avoid killing civilians and accuses Hamas of putting them at risk by operating in residential areas.

Belanger did not think the situation on the ground was likely to change soon, but said that as head of the global journalistic network "he has no right to be pessimistic".

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