NEW YORK -- Associated Press President and CEO Gary Pruitt informed staff Wednesday with "great sadness" that video journalist Simone Camilli had been killed in an explosion in Gaza.
"As all of you know, this has been a very difficult year for AP," Pruitt wrote in a staff memo, adding that Camilli is the second staffer "to die in the line of duty" this year and the 33rd since the news organization's founding in 1846. AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed four months ago in Afghanistan.
"As conflict and violence grows around the world, our work becomes more important but also more dangerous," Pruitt continued. "We take every precaution we can to protect the brave journalists who staff our frontlines. I never cease to be amazed at their courage."
Camilli, an Italian journalist, is the first foreign reporter killed during the current conflict in Gaza. A dozen Palestinian journalists and one media employee have also been killed in the recent violence, along with over 1,900 Palestinians and 67 Israelis.
Camilli and his team were working with a bomb disposal unit when the explosion took place. Ali Shehda Abu Afash, a Palestinian translator, was also killed in the explosion, and AP photographer Hatem Moussa was injured.
Read Pruitt's full memo to staff below:
Dear AP Staff:
It is with great sadness that I inform you that an AP videographer and a translator working for us have been killed in Gaza. An AP photographer was badly injured in the same incident.
Simone Camilli, an Italian journalist and a veteran video journalist who has worked with AP for eight years, was killed when a bomb went off while he and his team were working with a bomb disposal unit. Ali Shehda Abu Afash, a Palestinian translator who was working with the AP team, was also killed. Photographer Hatem Moussa was injured and is being treated at a Gaza hospital. A fourth member of the AP team, the driver, was uninjured.
Simone was well known throughout Europe, and especially to our video team in London, where his death has hit AP deeply. He had recently moved to Beirut with his wife. We have sent staff to be with her and with his family in Italy.
As all of you know, this has been a very difficult year for AP. Simone is the second staffer to die in the line of duty this year and the 33rd person since our founding in 1846. As conflict and violence grows around the world, our work becomes more important but also more dangerous. We take every precaution we can to protect the brave journalists who staff our frontlines. I never cease to be amazed at their courage.
All of us in the AP family grieve the loss of Simone and Ali Shehda, and we send our deepest sympathies to their families.