Page last updated at 18:30 GMT, Tuesday, 1 July 2008 19:30 UK

Israel denies injuring reporter

Mohammed Omer
Mohammed Omer won this year's Martha Gellhorn prize for journalism

Israel has denied allegations by a journalist from Gaza that he was injured by Israeli security personnel.

Mohammed Omer says he was detained for four hours as he crossed from Jordan into the occupied West Bank on 26 June.

Afterwards, Israeli officers summoned a Palestinian ambulance to take Mr Omer to hospital in the West Bank.

Mr Omer emailed the BBC the following day, saying he had "difficulty in breathing and pain in my chest" because of the treatment he received.

He is now back in Gaza, where hospital doctors have diagnosed several broken ribs. They also say Mr Omer suffered a nervous breakdown.

The journalist, 24, was returning from London, where he had received the Martha Gellhorn prize for journalism. He has also contributed to the BBC news website.

An Israeli spokesman told the Reuters news agency that Mr Omer received "fair treatment" during his detention at the Allenby Bridge crossing.

He said officials carried out the body search because they suspected the journalist of smuggling.


Mohammed Omer, 24, says he was forced to strip to his underwear by an Israeli officer who then "snatched it down off me".

"They wanted to humiliate me. They asked silly questions about everything I had done during my trip to London and Europe and they made fun of me".

He says two officers dragged him by his legs, with his head on the floor, in front of other passengers. He says he then vomited and fainted.

The Israeli official said at the end of the search Mr Omer "lost his balance and fell, for some reason unknown to us".

"A team of medics, an ambulance and a paramedic were summoned and he was transferred for treatment to Jericho".

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