Hamza Dahdouh, son of prominent Gaza journalist, killed in Israeli strike

Head of Al Jazeera's Gaza bureau has already lost his wife and two children to Israeli air strikes

Family and friends bid farewell to journalists Hamza Al Dahdouh and Mustafa Thuraya on January 7 in Rafah, Gaza. Getty Images
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Two Palestinian journalists in the Gaza Strip were killed in an Israeli strike on their car on Sunday, in what Qatar-based media network Al Jazeera said was a "targeted killing".

Mustafa Thuraya, who was also a video stringer for AFP and other news organisations and Hamza Al Dahdouh were killed while they were "on their way to carry out their duty" for the channel in the Gaza Strip.

A third journalist travelling with them, Hazem Rajab, was seriously injured.

Gaza's Hamas-run Health Ministry also confirmed their deaths and blamed an Israeli strike.

Witnesses told AFP that two rockets were fired at the car. One hit the front of the vehicle and the other hit Hamza, who was sitting next to the driver.

"We later found the body parts [of those in the car]," a witness told AFP. "The ambulance then came and carried those who were in the car."

AFP video footage showed a crowd inspecting the car's mangled remains, while pools of blood lay on the road. No other damage was visible in the area.

Al Jazeera "strongly condemns the Israeli occupation forces' targeting of the Palestinian journalists' car", the company said in a statement.

It accused Israel of "targeting" journalists and "violating the principles of freedom of the press".

When contacted by AFP, the Israeli army requested the geographic co-ordinates of the strike.

Several hours after the strike, the Israeli army had not replied to AFP's request for a comment.

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Hamza's father Wael Al Dahdouh is Al Jazeera's Gaza bureau chief.

He was recently wounded in a strike after his wife and two other children were killed in Israeli bombardment early in the war.

"Hamza was everything for me … while we are full of humanity they (Israel) are full of murder and hatred," Al Dahdouh said on Al Jazeera television.

He was in tears as he hugged his son's body at a hospital, surrounded by other journalists and relatives.

AFP's global news director Phil Chetwynd said the agency was "shocked" by Mustafa's death and its thoughts were with his family.

"We vigorously condemn all attacks against journalists doing their jobs and it is essential we have a clear explanation as to what happened," Mr Chetwynd said.

Crowds of people gathered later on Sunday at the funeral where Al Dahdouh kissed the hand of his dead son.

"The world should see with two eyes, not with an Israeli eye," he said. "They should see everything happening to the Palestinian people.

"What did Hamza do to them? What did my family do to them? What did the civilians do to them?

"They did nothing to them, but the world closes its eyes to what's happening in the Gaza Strip."

Al Dahdouh was wounded in an Israeli strike in December that also killed Al Jazeera cameraman Samer Abu Daqqa.

The channel has lost three journalists since the start of the Israel-Gaza war on October 7.

Thuraya, in his 30s, had worked with AFP since 2019. He also worked with other international media outlets.

Thuraya and Hamza had filmed the aftermath of a strike on a house in Rafah and their car was hit while they were on their way back, AFP said.

"We are in shock," Christophe Deloire of the media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders wrote on Sunday on X, formerly Twitter, calling the situation a "never-ending slaughter".

In May 2022, Shireen Abu Akleh, a veteran Palestinian journalist working for Al Jazeera, was killed while covering an Israeli raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli army later admitted one of its soldiers probably shot the reporter – who was wearing a helmet and a bulletproof vest marked "Press" – having mistaken her for a militant.

Updated: January 08, 2024, 5:58 AM