A second allegation of altering war zone photos - made against a photojournalist by bloggers - has led to more than 900 of his pictures being removed from Reuters' database.

Adnan Hajj, who had contributed to Reuters on a freelance basis since 1993, was axed by the agency after an investigation by bloggers last week claimed that an image showing bomb damage in Beirut had been digitally manipulated to increase the apparent severity of the raid.

After right-wing bloggers made further allegations of alterations to a second image - supposedly showing an Israeli F-16 firing missiles on Lebanon - Reuters withdrew all his photographs from its database.

Critics of the second photograph claimed the picture showed the plane firing defensive chaffe or flares, rather than missiles, and that two of the three projectiles and trails of smoke are actually manipulated copies of just one 'missile' and its smoke trail.

The two altered photographs were among 43 that Hajj had filed directly to the global pictures desk since the start of the conflict on 12 July. Reuters said it had now put in place a tighter editing procedure for images of the Middle East conflict.

"There is no graver breach of Reuters standards for our photographers than the deliberate manipulation of an image," said Tom Szlukovenyi, Reuters global picture editor.

"Reuters has zero tolerance for any doctoring of pictures and constantly reminds its photographers, both staff and freelance, of this strict and unalterable policy.

"This doesn't mean that every one of his 920 photographs in our database was altered.

"We know that not to be the case from the majority of images we have looked at so far but we need to act swiftly and in a precautionary manner."

Last week, the same Lebanese photographer was questioned by online observers scrutinising his images of a rescue worker retrieving the body of a child killed in Israel's heavy bombardment of Qana.

On that occassion Reuters and other news organisations reviewed those images and rejected allegations that the photographs were staged.

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