Al Jazeera journalist back on air 24 hours after family's death in Gaza

Wael Al Dahdouh was on camera when he heard his wife, daughter and son had been killed by an Israeli air strike

Journalist Wael Al Dahdouh mourns his son, who was killed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza. AP
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A journalist who was live on air when he learnt that his wife, daughter and son had been killed in Gaza has returned to work 24 hours later.

Wael Al Dahdouh, Al Jazeera’s Gaza bureau chief, said it was his duty return “despite the pain and bleeding”, after an Israeli air raid killed his family on Wednesday.

“It is my duty to meet you through the camera lens and communication channels,” the journalist said in a video while standing on the roof of a building overlooking Gaza city.

“The need for communication, solidarity and asking for help is important to us,” he said.

Al Dahdouh’s family were killed after fleeing northern Gaza to the south following Israel’s warning to move to safety.

The well-known journalist lost his wife, a daughter, a grandson and his 15-year-old son who wanted to follow in his footsteps into journalism.

“Behind me is a battlefield where the trenches are on fire, with raids, artillery and shelling,” Al Dahdouh said, pointing to buildings surrounded by black clouds of smoke from bombings.

His family were among 7,000 Palestinians – including 3,000 children – killed in Israel air strikes since Hamas fighters carried out an attack on the country on October 7, the Health Ministry in Gaza has said.

More than 1,400 people in Israel, mostly civilians, were killed during the Hamas attack, according to the Israeli government. Hamas is holding at least 224 captives inside Gaza, including men, women, children and the elderly.

The death of Al Dahdouh's family members caused shock waves across the world. Videos and pictures of him identifying them were shared widely on social media.

Since the October 7, at least 24 journalists have been killed, including 20 Palestinians, three Israelis and a Lebanese journalist.

Tens of thousands of Israeli troops were massed alongside the Gaza border on Friday ahead of a widely expected ground offensive. The army said its forces had staged a brief ground incursion into central Gaza on Friday.

Updated: October 27, 2023, 9:51 AM