The Israel Defense Forces has claimed reporter Hamza Dahdouh and a colleague were traveling in the same vehicle as a terrorist operating a drone
An Israeli airstrike killed two journalists and seriously injured another in southern Gaza on Sunday, Al Jazeera has reported. The outlet said that one of the reporters, Hamza Dahdouh, was the eldest son of its Gaza bureau chief, Wael Dahdouh, who previously lost several other family members in an Israeli attack.
The slain reporters had been planning to interview Palestinian civilians displaced by a previous Israeli bombardment, according to Al Jazeera. Along with Dahdouh, Mustafa Thuria, a video stringer for AFP who also worked for the Qatar-based media outlet, lost his life in the airstrike. A third reporter in the vehicle survived the attack, Al Jazeera said.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) warned in December that journalists are being killed in Gaza at an unprecedented rate. At least 68 media professionals have reportedly died since hostilities between Israel and Hamas erupted on October 7. The vast majority of the victims were Palestinians, the NGO noted. According to the CPJ, there is an “apparent pattern of [Israel] targeting journalists and their families.” In addition, 20 reporters have been detained by Israeli security forces and another three are missing, it claimed.
In a statement on Sunday, Al Jazeera called on the International Criminal Court, the UN, and governments and human rights organizations to “hold Israel accountable for its heinous crimes,” also demanding an end “to the targeting and killing of journalists.”
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) claimed to the Times of Israel later on Sunday that the two slain journalists had been traveling in a vehicle with a terrorist who was operating a drone. Last month, the Israeli military insisted its forces have “never, and will never, deliberately target journalists.”
Al Jazeera noted its Gaza bureau chief had already lost his wife, daughter, another son, and a grandson in an Israeli airstrike in late October. Dahdouh himself was wounded in an Israeli attack in December, with his cameraman later succumbing to his injuries.
Months of heavy Israeli aerial bombardment of Gaza and ground operations have left nearly 23,000 Palestinians dead, according to local health officials. The escalation was triggered by the surprise Hamas incursion into Israeli territory on October 7, during which militants killed 1,200 people. Some 240 people were also abducted, with 132 still in captivity.