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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Al Jazeera Bureau Chief’s Son, Hamza al-Dahdouh, Killed in Gaza

The firstborn of Al Jazeera’s Gaza bureau chief lost his life in a southern Gaza Israeli airstrike. Hamza al-Dahdouh, a journalist and cameraman for Al Jazeera, was traveling with fellow journalists on a road between Khan Younis and Rafah when a drone strike occurred. Mustafa Thuraya, a freelance journalist, also perished in the incident. This tragedy follows the loss of four other family members of bureau chief Wael al-Dahdouh in October: his wife Amna, grandchild Adam, 15-year-old son Mahmoud, and seven-year-old daughter Sham, all victims of an earlier Israeli strike.

Hisham Zaqout, an Al Jazeera correspondent, reported that Hamza and a group of journalists were on their way to the Moraj area northeast of Rafah, marked as a “humanitarian zone” by the Israeli army. However, the area had reportedly faced recent bombings despite its designation. The Moraj area had become a refuge for displaced Gazans seeking shelter from bombardments in other parts of the territory. Hamza’s intended mission was to cover the unfolding situation and the aftermath of the bombings in this area, as per Al Jazeera.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) provided a statement to the BBC, stating, “An IDF aircraft identified and targeted a terrorist operating an aircraft posing a threat to IDF troops. We are aware of reports that two additional suspects in the same vehicle as the terrorist were also affected during the strike.” Live footage broadcasted by Al Jazeera captured the aftermath of the attack on the vehicle. Wael al-Dahdouh, the father, was seen in tears, holding his son’s hand beside his lifeless body in a morgue in Khan Younis. Hamza was later laid to rest in Rafah.

Also Read: Hamas Deputy Leader Assassinated in Beirut Raises Gaza War Spread Risk

Expressing profound grief at the funeral, Wael al-Dahdouh stated, “Hamza was not just a part of me. He was the whole of me. He was the soul of my soul. These are tears of sadness, of loss. These are tears of humanity.” He urged the world to closely observe the events unfolding in Gaza.

Wael al-Dahdouh himself had been injured, and his cameraman, Samer Abu Daqqa, lost his life in a separate strike while filming the previous month. Despite the challenges, Mr. al-Dahdouh, a father of eight, continued his reporting on the war in Gaza.

Hamza al-Dahdouh, with a million followers on Instagram, posted his final message before his tragic demise, dedicated to his father: “You are steadfast and patient. Do not despair of God’s mercy. Be certain that he will reward you.”

Al Jazeera strongly condemned the killing of Hamza al-Dahdouh and accused the Israeli occupation forces of targeting Palestinian journalists in Gaza. The media network emphasized that Israel’s actions violated the principles of freedom of the press. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken described Hamza al-Dahdouh’s death as an “unimaginable tragedy” and expressed concern over the loss of innocent Palestinian lives in the ongoing conflict.

In response, Mark Regev, a senior adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, denied deliberate targeting of journalists by Israel, asserting that Israel maintains a free press and allows criticism of its leaders. He described accusations of intentional press targeting as “ridiculous.” However, more than 75 journalists have been killed since the start of the war in Gaza, according to reports. The conflict has resulted in over 22,000 deaths in Gaza, as reported by the Hamas-run health ministry.

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