The eldest son of Al Jazeera’s Gaza bureau chief, Wael al-Dahdouh, was killed in an Israeli strike in southern Gaza on Sunday, bringing the total number of his family members killed to five.
Hamza al-Dahdouh, an Al Jazeera network journalist and cameraman, was killed alongside freelance journalist Mustafa Thuray on Sunday. A third journalist, Hazem Rajab, was seriously injured when the car they were driving was hit by an Israeli airstrike.
Hamza al-Dahdouh is survived by his father, Wael al-Dahdouh, who lost four other family members due to an Israeli airstrike in October, including his wife Amna, his grandchild Adam, his 15-year-old son Mahmoud and 7-year-old daughter Sham.
Wael al-Dahdouh was on-air reporting about the conditions of Gaza when he was made aware his family was killed. He had a total of eight children.
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, a designated “humanitarian zone” by the Israeli army.
Hamza al-Dahdouh had intended to report on the aftermath of the bombings in the area.
“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 wounded in a separate strike last month that left his cameraman Samer Abu Daqqa dead. He has continued reporting despite this, “All the world needs to see what is happening here,” he said after burying his son.
In his last post before he was killed, Hamza al-Dahdouh wrote of his father’s courage on Instagram. “You are steadfast and patient. Do not despair of God’s mercy. Be certain that he will reward you,” he said.
Since Israel first declared war on Gaza, more than 75 journalists and media workers have been killed, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Seventy-two have been identified as Palestinians, four as Israelis, and three as Lebanese.
Al Jazeera has urged “the International Criminal Court, governments, human rights organizations, and the United Nations to hold Israel accountable for its heinous crimes” and demanded “an end to the targeting and killing of journalists.”
In a statement to the BBC, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) acknowledged the airstrike and claimed the vehicle was targeted because the journalists were harboring a terrorist.
“An IDF aircraft identified and struck a terrorist who operated an aircraft that posed a threat to IDF troops,” the IDF said. “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.”