JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Shimon Peres said today that two CBS television crew members killed by Israeli tank fire in southern Lebanon "took position" among armed men and were killed because Israeli soldiers were trying to protect themselves.
In a letter to CBS News President Edward M. Joyce, Peres rejected Joyce's charges that a soundman and a cameraman working for the network were killed in "what eyewitnesses call an unprovoked and deliberate attack."
A French journalist who witnessed the incident said the troops "knew exactly that they were journalists."
Covering Raid on Shias
The two crew members, Tafik Ghazawi, 47, and soundman Bahije Metni, 37, both Lebanese citizens who worked as free-lancers for CBS, were killed Thursday while they were covering a raid on the Shia Muslim village of Kfar Malke near Sidon, on the Lebanese side of Israel's front line in south Lebanon.
Israel was conducting raids on Shia Muslim villages as part of a campaign aimed at quelling a growing number of attacks against its soldiers in south Lebanon.