Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 December 2017, 12:58 GMT

Journalists Killed in 2002 - Motive Confirmed: Raffaele Ciriello

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date January 2003
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Journalists Killed in 2002 - Motive Confirmed: Raffaele Ciriello, January 2003, available at: [accessed 12 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

March 13, 2002, in Ramallah, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Ciriello, an Italian freelance photographer who was on assignment for the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, was killed by Israeli gunfire in the West Bank city of Ramallah, according to press reports and eyewitness testimony. Ciriello was the first foreign journalist killed while covering the current Palestinian uprising, which began in September 2000. The photographer died after being hit by a burst of machine gun fire from the direction of an Israeli tank during an Israeli military offensive in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Amedeo Ricucci of the Italian television station Rai Uno told CPJ that he and his cameraman were accompanying Ciriello and trailing a group of Palestinian gunmen at the time of the incident. Ricucci said the area was quiet and was located roughly 500 yards (455 meters) to a half-mile (0.8 kilometers) from a nearby refugee camp where fighting between Israelis and Palestinians was taking place.

The three journalists were standing inside a building off an alleyway, Ricucci said. Shortly afterward, a tank emerged at one end of the street 150 to 200 yards (135 to 180 meters) away, he said. Ciriello left the building and pointed his camera at the tank. He then came under fire without warning. Ciriello was shot six times and died of his wounds soon after.

At least one Palestinian gunman was in Ciriello's vicinity at the time of the shooting, according to press reports. The Italian government has demanded a full investigation into the attack.

After Ciriello's death, an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson was unable to provide details about the circumstances of the shooting and claimed to have no information about the presence of journalists in Ramallah, which the IDF said was a closed military area at the time. The IDF added that journalists who entered the area were "endangering" themselves.

In late August, the IDF announced that it had concluded an investigation into the incident and said that there was "no evidence and no knowledge of an [army] force that fired in the direction of the photographer."

Beats Covered:War
Local or Foreign:Foreign
Type of Death:Crossfire/Combat-Related
Suspected Source of Fire:Military Officials


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