Al Jazeera bureau chief’s son Hamza al-Dahdouh among journalists killed in Gazaon January 7, 2024 at 6:12 pm

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Hamza al-Dahdouh was with other journalists when a reported strike hit a road between Khan Younis and Rafah.

Hamza Al-Dahdouh (on the right) and his father Wael Al-DahdouhImage source, X / hamzadah1996

The eldest son of Al Jazeera’s Gaza bureau chief has been killed in an Israeli strike in southern Gaza.

Hamza al-Dahdouh, an Al Jazeera network journalist and cameraman, was with other journalists on a road between Khan Younis and Rafah when a drone strike hit.

Freelance journalist Mustafa Thuraya was also killed.

Four other members of bureau chief Wael al-Dahdouh’s family were also killed in October.

His wife Amna, his grandchild Adam, his 15-year-old son Mahmoud and seven-year-old daughter Sham all died in an Israeli strike.

According to Hisham Zaqout, an Al Jazeera correspondent, Hamza and a group of journalists were en route to the Moraj area northeast of Rafah – which was designated a “humanitarian zone” by the Israeli army – but which had reportedly experienced recent bombings.

Many displaced Gazans had fled to the area to escape the bombardment in other regions of the territory. Hamza had intended to report on the unfolding situation and the aftermath of the bombings in the area, according to Al Jazeera.

Wael al-Dahdouh pictured with mourners at the funeral of his son

Live footage from Al Jazeera showed the aftermath of the strike on the car they had been travelling in.

It also showed his father Wael al-Dahdouh in tears, holding his hand and standing next to his body in a morgue in Khan Younis. He was buried in the southern city of Rafah.

“Hamza was not just 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,” his father said at the funeral.

“I call on the world to look closely at what’s happening in Gaza.”

Wael al-Dahdouh was himself wounded and his cameraman Samer Abu Daqqa was killed in a separate strike while filming last month.

Mr al-Dahdouh, who has eight children, continued reporting on the war in Gaza.

Hamza al-Dahdouh had one million followers on Instagram. His final post before he was killed was about his father. “You are steadfast and patient. Do not despair of God’s mercy. Be certain that he will reward you,” he said.

Al Jazeera condemned the killing and what it said was the “targeting” of Palestinian journalists in Gaza.

“Al Jazeera Media Network strongly condemns the Israeli occupation forces’ targeting of Palestinian journalists’ car,” the company said in a statement, accusing Israel of “violating the principles of freedom of the press”.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Hamza al-Dahdouh’s death was “an unimaginable tragedy”.

He added that “far too many innocent Palestinian men, women and children” have died in the war.

The BBC has contacted the IDF for comment.

Mark Regev, a senior adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told the BBC’s World This Weekend that “Israel does not deliberately target journalists”.

“We’re the only country in the Middle East that actually does have a free press. We’re the only country in the entire region where the press can write bad things and criticise the leaders of government,” he said.

“To say Israel deliberately targets the press is ridiculous, we’re the only country that actually enshrines the free press.”

More than 75 journalists have been killed since the war in Gaza started.

More than 22,000 people have been killed in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

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