Huffpost Media

Jerusalem Post Reporter Attacked In Athens: Gil Shefler Assaulted For Filming Mob Attack

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Gil Shefler, a reporter for the Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post, was brutally attacked by a mob in Athens, Greece on Tuesday.

According to the newspaper, a group of approximately 20 masked men armed with bats started beating immigrants and homeless people in the street at around 8PM on Tuesday.

When Shefler took out his camera to document the attack, he was chased down by the mob and beaten. The reporter captured the aftermath of the attack on video. (Watch above. Warning: video contains graphic images.)

Shefler described the attack to HuffPost:

""I was walking outside the National Archaeological Museum of Athens at 8:00 PM --still broad daylight in Athens in the summer-- when suddenly I saw dozens of foreigners run for their lives. Chasing them were about 15 masked men wearing black shirts and wielding long sticks. I instinctively took out my camera to document the mob attack but seconds later i was chased down the street by about five of them, apparently because I was trying to snap photos. Greek nationals were walking calmly by doing their best to ignore what was going on. I was beaten in the middle of the street for a few minutes with police nowhere in sight. It took about 15 minutes before the assailants left the scene entirely and 20 minutes before I was taken to hospital to be treated for my wounds."
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Shefler was treated for head and chest wounds in an Athens hospital. He has since been released and is recuperating well.

Shefler told HuffPost that the Greek police are uncertain as to who his attackers actually were and that several motives for the attack were possible.

While he believes that the mob may have had ties to political extremists, he thinks they could have been affiliated with the far right or far left. From the Jerusalem Post:

“In downtown Athens both often take the law into their own hands. When I saw the viciousness of the attack on people outside the museum using batons and sticks, I did my journalistic duty and snapped photos, and for that offense I was brutally beaten.”

Greece's ambassador to Israel strongly condemned the attack in a letter to the paper's editor in chief. Kyriakos Loukakis said the incident does not reflect or represent Greek values or traditions, a people who "have fought hard in their history not only for freedom, but also for the freedom of thought and expression, non-discrimination and tolerance."

Israeli-American reporter Shefler was in Athens to report on Golden Dawn, the neo-Nazi party that stunned political observers with their success in recent Greek elections.

Violence in Greece has been on the increase in recent months, as citizens feel the pinch of austerity measures imposed in the wake of the country's financial crisis.