Reuters Journalist Issam Abdallah Remembered for Courage and Insight
Bravery and Compassion
Reuters visuals journalist Issam Abdallah, 37, tragically lost his life while filming Israeli missile attacks at the Israeli-Lebanon border. Throughout his career, Abdallah brought courage, compassion, and insight to his work, covering some of the most significant news stories of the past decade.
Abdallah’s colleagues remember his exceptional storytelling abilities, whether reporting on the war against Islamic State, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, or the struggles in his native Lebanon. He excelled at capturing the untold human stories that touched the hearts of readers.
In a letter to editors, Abdallah emphasized the importance of conveying the human aspect of conflicts, stating that “the picture is not only front lines and smoke, but the untold human stories which touch us all inside.”
In 2020, Abdallah was nominated as Reuters Video Journalist of the Year for his outstanding coverage of the Beirut port blast. His powerful images provided the world with some of the first and most impactful visuals of the disaster. In 2022, he was part of a larger team that won the award for their coverage in Ukraine.
Eleanor Biles, Reuters Europe Video Editor, praised Abdallah’s unwavering passion and professionalism, stating that “he had a passion to tell the stories he saw unfold in front of his eyes. That passion was the same for a papal visit or covering an earthquake.”
Careful and Cautious Reporting
Despite working in some of the world’s most dangerous places, Abdallah was known among his peers for his careful and cautious approach. He prioritized the safety of himself and his colleagues, ensuring responsible reporting in difficult environments.
During a grueling assignment in 2019, Abdallah was among the first journalists to report on the surrender of hundreds of Islamic State fighters in eastern Syria. His reporting was characterized by courage and responsibility.
A Friend and Colleague
In addition to his exceptional reporting skills, Abdallah was known for his ability to uplift the mood in the Reuters Beirut bureau. He fostered close friendships with his colleagues and their families, often organizing breakfast spreads and capturing group photos to bring everyone together.
Abdallah’s funeral took place in his hometown of Khiyam in southern Lebanon, where he was laid to rest next to his father. He leaves behind his mother, two brothers, and a sister.
A Tragic Incident
Lebanon’s army has stated that Abdallah was killed by a missile fired from Israel, and Reuters has called for a thorough and transparent investigation. The loss of Abdallah serves as a reminder of the importance of journalists being able to report freely and safely.
Despite the tragic circumstances of his death, Abdallah’s devotion to his work and the power of images will always be remembered. Through his camera, the world witnessed the fatal shell that tragically took his life.
Issam Abdallah’s legacy as a courageous and insightful journalist will forever be etched in our memory.