The Australian’s Sharri Markson has been detained by Israeli security forces while on a press tour to the country.
The Guardian Australia has reported that Markson was held by Israeli security forces after she collected personal details of wounded Syrian fighters being secretly treated in a Jewish hospital. The fighters were reportedly fighting against ISIS and the Assad regime.
News reports say that chief executive of the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies, Vic Alhadeff, was forced to intervene after security became “heavy handed” with Markson who recently left editing The Australian’s Media section to become a senior writer across News’ titles.
Markson was on a media tour jointly organised by by the Jewish board of deputies and the Australia/Israel and Jewish affairs council (AIJAC). The group of Australian journalists visited the Ziv Medical Centre in northern Israel on Thursday where some 500 injured Syrian fighters are being treated.
Markson, who has since reportedly returned to Australia, tweeted of her experience: “The Syrian fighters gave me theirs too. Israeli security were a bit heavy-handed, demanding I delete the details from my phone and notebook. The Syrian fighters took my details to keep in touch with a journalist when they return to Syria, where they’re at war with Assad and Daesh.”
The editor of The Australian, Clive Mathieson, was reported in The Guardian as saying: “There was a minor incident at the Ziv Medical Centre in northern Israel on Thursday. It was quickly resolved and any suggestion that Sharri would have endangered the foreign fighters by revealing their identities is completely rejected.”
The tour included a number of Australian journalists from The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian Financial Review, The Age, The Daily Telegraph, and Seven and Sky News.