For Wael al-Dahdouh, an Al Jazeera journalist in Gaza, the worst nightmare came true on Sunday. Days after losing his wife and two other children in Israeli bombardment in the war against Hamas militants, Wael al-Dahdouh’s another son Hamza Wael Dahdouh, also a journalist with Al Jazeera, was killed in an Israeli strike. The Qatar-based media network claimed was a “targeted killing”.
Al Jazeera said two of its Palestinian journalists, including Hamza Wael Dahdouh and Mustafa Thuria, in the Gaza Strip were killed in the Israeli strike on their car. A third freelance journalist travelling with them, Hazem Rajab, was seriously injured.
Wael al-Dahdouh was himself recently wounded in a strike. Wael Dahdouh was wounded in an Israeli strike in December that also killed Al Jazeera cameraman Samer Abu Daqqa. The Qatar-based channel has lost three journalists since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on October 7.
A video posted on an Al Jazeera-linked YouTube channel showed Wael Al-Dahdouh crying next to his son’s body and holding his hand. Later, after his son’s burial, he said in televised remarks that journalists in Gaza would keep doing their job. “All the world needs to see what is happening here,” he said.
Wael Al-Dahdouh is particularly well known to viewers across the Middle East after he learned during a live broadcast last month that his wife, another son, daughter and grandson had been killed in an Israeli air strike.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday’s killings were an “unimaginable tragedy” and that he was “deeply deeply sorry” for the Al-Dahdouh family’s loss. “One (journalist killed) is far too many” Blinken said at a press conference in Doha, the Qatari capital.
Another journalist who died covering the conflict was Reuters visuals journalist Issam Abdallah. A Lebanese citizen, he was killed on October 13 by an Israeli tank crew while filming cross-border shelling in Lebanon.
The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza also confirmed the deaths and blamed an Israeli strike.
Witnesses told news agency AFP that two rockets were fired at the car – one hit the front of the vehicle and the other hit Hamza who was sitting next to the driver.
“We later found the body parts (of those in the car). The ambulance then came and carried those who were in the car,” a witness, who declined to give his name for security reasons, told AFP.
The Israeli army told AFP that it had “struck a terrorist who operated an aircraft that posed a threat to IDF troops”, adding that it was “aware of the reports that during the strike, two other suspects who were in the same vehicle as the terrorist were also hit”.
Al Jazeera said in a statement it “strongly condemns the Israeli occupation forces’ targeting of the Palestinian journalists’ car”, accusing Israel of “targeting” journalists and “violating the principles of freedom of the press”.
The war in Gaza broke out after Hamas militants stormed across Gaza’s border into Israel in an unprecedented attack which left some 1,140 people dead, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to eradicate Hamas, denounced as a terrorist group by the US and EU, and has kept up a relentless bombing of Gaza, which the Hamas-run health ministry says has killed 22,835 people, mostly civilians.