Al Jazeera’s Gaza bureau chief Wael Dahdouh – who lost his wife, two children and nine other family members in an Israeli strike in October – said his last goodbyes to his eldest son today. Hamza, like his father, was a journalist and killed when the car he was in with another journalist was struck in Rafah. The other journalist – Mustafa Thuria (a video stringer) – was also killed in the missile strike.
Their vehicle was near al-Mawasi – a “safe area” – when it was struck, Al Jazeera reported.
“Hamza was everything for me, the eldest boy, he was the soul of my soul,” Mr Dahdouh, dejected, told Al Jazeera while speaking from the cemetry where his son had been laid to rest.
“I hope that the blood of my son Hamza is the last blood to flow of journalists as well as people in the Gaza Strip,” he added.
Distressing visuals on social media showed Hamza’s inconsolable wife and siblings rushing to the cemetry for one last look before he was buried. Wael Dahdouh stood by his head, trying to comfort the rest of his family. Another video showed him kissing his son’s hand while fighting back tears.
Al Jazeera has condemned the killing and “targeting” of Palestinian journalists in Gaza. “Al Jazeera Media Network strongly condemns the Israeli occupation forces’ targeting of Palestinian journalists’ car,” the company said in a statement, accusing Israel of “violating the principles of freedom of the press”.
Mr Dahdouh became the face of all journalists reporting from Ground Zero on Israel’s war on Gaza when he learned that a number of his family members were killed in the same bombing he was covering in October.
World watched as he rushed to the hospital where the bodies of his loved ones were kept. Visuals showed him mourning over the bodies of his wife and children at a hospital in Deir el-Balah in the southern Gaza Strip.
His family was staying in a temporary home, again a “safe area”, after evacuating Gaza City following Israel’s warning for residents to move south as its forces intensified strikes targeting Hamas.
At least 113 people have been killed in the past 24 hours in Israeli bombardments, said the health ministry in the besieged territory run by Hamas.
The war started when Hamas on October 7 last year launched an unprecedented attack on Israel which resulted in about 1,140 deaths, most of them civilians. The Hamas operatives also took around 250 hostages, 132 of whom are still in captivity, according to Israel. At least 24 are believed to have been killed.
In response, Israel is carrying out a relentless bombardment and ground invasion that have killed at least 22,835 people, most of them women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed again at a cabinet meeting that “I have a clear message for our enemies: What happened on October 7 will not happen again.