Al Jazeera bureau chief’s son Hamza al-Dahdouh among journalists killed in Gaza

Hamza Al-Dahdouh (on the right) and his father Wael Al-Dahdouh
Image caption,Hamza Al-Dahdouh (right) and his father Wael Al-Dahdouh

By Shaimaa Khalil

BBC News, Jerusalem

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 driving in a car with other journalists along a road between Khan Younis and Rafah on Sunday when it was hit.

Freelance journalist Mustafa Thuraya was also killed. A third journalist, Hazem Rajab, was seriously injured.

Four other members of bureau chief Wael al-Dahdouh’s family have been killed.

His wife Amna, his grandchild Adam, his 15-year-old son Mahmoud and seven-year-old daughter Sham were killed in an Israeli strike in Nuseirat refugee camp in October.


According to Al Jazeera correspondent Hisham Zaqout, Hamza al-Dahdouh and a group of journalists were en route to the Moraj area north-east 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
Image caption,Wael al-Dahdouh, pictured in his press vest, at his son’s funeral

In a statement to the BBC, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said: “An IDF aircraft identified and struck a terrorist who operated an aircraft that posed a threat to IDF troops.

“We are aware of the reports that during the strike, two other suspects who were in the same vehicle as the terrorist were also hit.”

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.

The Al Jazeera Media Network said in a statement that it “strongly condemns the Israeli occupation forces’ targeting of Palestinian journalists’ car”.

“The assassination of Mustafa and Hamza… whilst they were on their way to carry out their duty in the Gaza Strip, reaffirms the need to take immediate necessary legal measures against the occupation forces to ensure that there is no impunity,” it added.

It also alleged that the strike “confirms without a doubt the Israeli forces’ determination continue these brutal attacks against journalists and their families, aiming to discourage them from performing their mission, violating the principles of freedom of the press and undermines the right to life”.

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.

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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