February 22, 2024

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The son of Al Jazeera bureau chief Hamza al-Dahdouh was among the journalists martyred in Gaza

The son of Al Jazeera bureau chief Hamza al-Dahdouh was among the journalists martyred in Gaza
  • Written by Shaima Khalil
  • BBC News, Jerusalem

Image source, Kh / Hamzadeh 1996

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Hamza Al-Dahdouh (right) and his father Wael Al-Dahdouh

The eldest son of the director of Al Jazeera's office in Gaza was martyred in an Israeli raid on the southern Gaza Strip.

Hamza Al-Dahdouh, a journalist and photographer for Al-Jazeera Network, was with other journalists on the road between Khan Yunis and Rafah when a drone strike struck.

Independent journalist Mustafa Soraya was also killed.

Four other members of the family of office head Wael al-Dahdouh were also killed in October.

His wife Amna, grandson Adam, 15-year-old son Mahmoud, and seven-year-old daughter Sham were killed in an Israeli raid.

According to Hisham Zaqout, an Al Jazeera correspondent, Hamza and a group of journalists were on their way to the Al-Miraj area northeast of Rafah – which the Israeli army has classified as a “humanitarian area” – but which has reportedly witnessed recent bombings.

Many displaced Gazans have fled to the area to escape bombing in other areas of the Strip. Hamza intended to submit a report on the unfolding situation and the repercussions of the bombings in the region, according to Al Jazeera.

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Wael Al-Dahdouh in the photo in his press jacket during his son’s funeral

Live footage from Al Jazeera showed the effects of the raid on the car they were traveling in.

It also showed his father, Wael Al-Dahdouh, crying while holding his hand and standing next to his body in the Khan Yunis morgue. He was buried in the city of Rafah in the south of the country.

His father said at the funeral: “Hamza was not just a part of me. He was all of me. He was the soul of my soul. These are tears of sadness and loss. These are tears of humanity.”

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

Wael Al-Dahdouh was injured, and his cameraman, Samer Abu Daqqa, was killed in a separate raid while he was filming last month.

Mr. Dahdouh, a father of eight children, continued to report on the war in Gaza.

Hamza Al-Dahdouh has one million followers on Instagram. His last post before his murder was about his father. He said, “You are patient and patient. Do not despair of God's mercy and be certain that He will reward you.”

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

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

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that the death of Hamza al-Dahdouh was an “unimaginable tragedy.”

He added that “a very large number of innocent Palestinian men, women and children” were killed in the war.

The BBC has contacted the Israeli army for comment.

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

“We are the only country in the Middle East that actually has a free press,” he said. “We are the only country in the entire region where the press can write bad things and criticize government leaders.”

He added: “To say that Israel deliberately targets the press is ridiculous, as we are the only country that sanctifies a free press.”

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

More than 22,000 people were killed in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run Ministry of Health.

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