Al Jazeera Journalist Back on Air After Family Killed in Israeli Strike

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Late Tuesday, Wael Al-Dahdouh’s wife, son and daughter were killed in an airstrike that struck their house in the Nuseirat camp in central Gaza. Dahdouh’s grandson and eight other extended family members were also killed in the attack.

GAZA CITY — One day after his family was killed in an Israeli airstrike, Al Jazeera’s Gaza bureau chief Wael Al-Dahdouh was back reporting on air.

Late Tuesday, Dahdouh’s wife, son and daughter were killed in an airstrike that struck their house in the Nuseirat camp in central Gaza. They had moved there following Israel’s warning on Oct. 13 for those in the northern half of the territory to leave for the south. Dahdouh’s grandson and eight other extended family members were also killed in the attack.

The tragedy underscores the risks facing journalists covering the Israeli onslaught on Gaza, which was sparked after Hamas invaded southern Israel on Oct. 7.

Following the airstrike, Al Jazeera aired footage showing Dahdouh entering the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir el-Balah on Wednesday to see his dead wife, son and daughter in the morgue.

“What happened is clear. This is a series of targeted attacks on children, women and civilians. I was just reporting from Yarmouk about such an attack, and the Israeli raids have targeted many areas, including Nuseirat,” Dahdouh told Al Jazeera on his way out of the hospital.

Al Jazeera “strongly condemns the indiscriminate targeting and killing of innocent civilians in Gaza, which has led to the loss of Wael Al-Dahdouh’s family and countless others,” the Qatari network said in a statement.

Youmna ElSayed, an Al Jazeera correspondent in Gaza, told the broadcaster, “It’s heartbreaking to be reporting about Wael’s family and to see how broken he is. He calms everyone. He speaks to us like a big brother, not just a bureau chief.”

As of Thursday, at least 27 journalists have been killed in the war, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, or CPJ. Among them, 22 were Palestinian, four were Israeli, and one was Lebanese.

“I’ve got to give credit to a lot of journalists who are very brave and trying to cover this. The world needs to see what’s happening,” James Cunningham, the former US ambassador to Israel, was quoted by VOA as saying.

Journalists in Gaza are facing particularly high risks, CPJ said, due to Israel’s airstrikes and the threat of a looming Israeli ground invasion. The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said Thursday that more than 7,000 Palestinians have been killed since the war began.

“The main challenge for journalists covering the military confrontation in Gaza is their own safety — being killed while covering airstrikes or clashes,” Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, said.

“Journalists in Gaza have paid and continue to pay unprecedented tolls and face exponential threats,” Mansour later added.

Spotty internet connections and unreliable electricity access exacerbate the challenges facing reporters in Gaza.

“It was shocking news,” said Maan Al-Haj Ali, a journalist working for Palestine’s WAFA News Agency. “As if (he) was a member of the family, as if someone very close was broken in front of you,” Al Jazeera quoted Al-Haj Ali as saying

To those in Gaza, Dahdouh’s presence on their screens has been a constant in recent years. Many in the media praised his work and expressed their sorrow that a man so used to covering the tragedies of others now had to face his own.

“As a journalist and writer, Wael is a beacon of brave reporting and authentic journalism,” Mohammed R. Mhawish, a Palestinian journalist and writer based in Gaza, told Al Jazeera. “I was listening to the live broadcast when he received the news of the killing of his family members. It shocked me to see him break down on screen.” — Agencies

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