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Foreign Journalists Pour Into Gaza To Cover Conflict

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FOREIGN JOURNALISTS GAZA
CNN

On Monday, NBC News correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin told The Huffington Post that one of the major differences in covering the Israel-Gaza conflict now, versus the Israeli bombardment of the region during winter 2008-2009, is the influx of foreign journalists.

It's hard to pin down exactly how many journalists have recently entered Gaza, given that some members of the media could have been there before Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defense or have entered through the Egyptian border. But figures provided by the Israeli government to The Huffington Post indicate that significantly more foreign journalists are reporting from Gaza than there were four years ago.

Since Nov. 14, approximately 300 visiting reporters have received press cards from the Government Press Office, according to a spokeswoman. The GPO provides press cards but does not monitor whether journalists head to Gaza or not.

However, the Israeli Defense Forces escorts journalists to the border with Gaza and thus can offer a better sense of how many are entering -- at least by way of Israel. An IDF spokesman told HuffPost that at least 170 journalists have entered so far.

During the three-week conflict between Dec. 2008 and 2009, Israel closed the border, thus leaving most journalists on the outside looking in. Now, reporters are on the ground to cover incoming strikes in real-time, along with Palestinians shooting rockets into Israel.

While Israel hasn't prevented journalists from entering Gaza during this operation, the government has received criticism from Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists for striking buildings housing media offices. The CPJ similarly condemned strikes on media offices in early 2009.

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