updated 7/7/2007 2:42:14 AM ET 2007-07-07T06:42:14

A media watchdog group called for an investigation Friday into the shooting of a cameraman for Hamas TV.

The International Federation of Journalists, in a statement from Brussels, Belgium, denounced Israel for what it said was “a vicious and brutal example of deliberate targeting of a journalist.”

Israeli army spokeswoman Maj. Avital Leibowitch said it was not clear who shot Imad Ghanem, 21, a cameraman for the Hamas-allied Al Aqsa TV, though she did not deny it could have been Israeli troops. There were no plans to investigate, she said.

Legs amputated
Ghanem’s legs were amputated Thursday after he was brought to the hospital in critical condition, doctors said.

Leibowitch said the cameraman was a legitimate target because he was with the Hamas gunmen firing at Israeli forces, was separated from other journalists covering the clash, and could have been carrying a weapon.

The shooting was captured on film and broadcast on al-Jazeera satellite television, but the footage did not show who fired at Ghanem.

From his hospital bed, Ghanem said he was first hit when he was filming the evacuation of militants wounded by Israeli tank fire.

“I walked ahead of them as they carried the injured on a metal stretcher. Then the shooting started. A bullet came in my leg and I fell to the ground. I couldn’t move afterwards,” he said.

Ghanem said a tank continued firing at him as he lay on the ground.

“This man was carrying a camera, not a gun,” said Aiden White, general secretary of the journalists’ federation. “He was no threat to Israeli forces. Israel appears to believe it is possible to kill any journalist with impunity so long as they can smear them as propagandists.”

Eleven Palestinian militants were killed in a series of battles Thursday between Israeli troops and Palestinian militants in central Gaza.

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