Sat | Sep 22, 2018

AP video journalist killed in Gaza, captured human suffering amid war

Published:Thursday | August 14, 2014 | 12:00 AM


Simone Camilli was a consummate storyteller - a passionate, talented newsman with an eye for detail and the ability to convey events with powerful video images that touched people around the world.

As an Associated Press video journalist, he covered popes in the serene splendour of the Vatican and the horrific violence on battlefields from the former Soviet republic of Georgia to the Middle East.

But he could also capture the simple joy of a smiling child.

Camilli once said a favourite story of his was about a group of clowns performing for young Syrian refugees, bringing moments of happiness to the lives of the boys and girls who fled the civil war.

The 35-year-old newsman was killed Wednesday in the Gaza Strip when leftover ordnance believed to have been dropped in an Israeli airstrike blew up — the first foreign journalist to die while covering the Gaza conflict that began last month.

Also killed was freelance Palestinian translator Ali Shehda Abu Afash and four Gaza police engineers. Four people, including AP photo-grapher Hatem Moussa, were badly injured.

"He was a very good cameraman and editor and a lot of his best work was not from the battlefield. He was passionately interested in art and music, and it was in these areas that he turned in some of his best work," said Chris Slaney, former senior producer in Jerusalem.

His father, Pier Luigi Camilli, the mayor of the Italian town of Pitigliano and a former journalist himself, spoke of the work that his son did in "all the most dangerous places".