Hamza, son of Al Jazeera’s Wael Dahdouh, killed in Israeli attack in Gaza

An Israeli attack targeted the car he was travelling in with two other journalists.

Hamza Dahdouh, the eldest son of Al Jazeera’s Gaza bureau chief, Wael Dahdouh, has been killed by an Israeli missile strike in the western part of Khan Younis, Gaza.

Journalist Mustafa Thuraya was also killed in the attack, when the vehicle they were travelling in near al-Mawasi, a supposedly safe area towards the southwest, was struck by the missile. A third passenger, Hazem Rajab, was seriously injured.

According to reports from Al Jazeera correspondents, Hamza and Mustafa’s vehicle was targeted as they were trying to interview civilians displaced by previous bombings.

Hamza stands with his arm around his younger brother Mahmoud in a garden
Hamza Dahdouh shared this picture of him with his brother Mahmoud with a sad message bidding him farewell in October last year [Courtesy Dahdouh family]

Hamza, 27, was a journalist like his father. Mustafa was also in his 20s.

Speaking from the cemetery where his son had been laid to rest, Wael seemed subdued yet resigned, saying he was one of the droves of people in Gaza today who are bidding bitter farewells to their loved ones every day.

He vowed to remain on his path of showing the world what is happening in Gaza, despite the pain of one loss after another.

“Hamza was everything to me, the eldest boy, he was the soul of my soul … these are the tears of parting and loss, the tears of humanity,” he said.

The body of journalist Mustafa Thuraya are taken to the morgue of Kuwait Hospital in Rafah, Gaza after Al Jazeera's Gaza bureau chief Wael al-Dahdouh's son Hamza Dahdouh and Thuraya were killed in Khan Yunis by an Israeli missile hit the vehicle they were traveling, on January 07,
The body of journalist Mustafa Thuraya is taken to the morgue of the Kuwaiti hospital in Rafah, Gaza after he and Hamza Dahdouh were killed in Khan Younis by an Israeli missile that hit their car on January 7, 2024 [Abed Zagout/Anadolu]

The Al Jazeera Media Network strongly condemned the attack, adding: “The assassination of Mustafa and Hamza … whilst they were on their way to carry out their duty in the Gaza Strip, reaffirms the need to take immediate necessary legal measures against the occupation forces to ensure that there is no impunity.”

Reacting to the news, Gaza’s media office condemned the killing of the two journalists, denouncing “in the strongest terms this heinous crime”.

Continuous pain

Hamza was extremely attached to his family and was devastated when he heard on October 25 that an Israeli raid had hit the house his family was sheltering at in the Nuseirat refugee camp.

He found out shortly after that his mother Amna, brother Mahmoud, 15, sister Sham, 7, and nephew Adam, 1, had been killed in the Israeli attack. His grief after their loss seemed to motivate him to work harder on covering the war on Gaza, according to his colleague.

Yehia weeps over the body of his mother with his father Wael beside him
Wael Dahdouh, centre, and his youngest son Yehia, 12, mourn his wife, son, daughter, and grandson killed in an Israeli attack on Nuseirat refugee camp, October 26, 2023 [Ali Mahmoud/AP Photo]

As news of Hamza’s killing spread, his wife of one year rushed to the cemetery, as did his surviving siblings, for one last look before he was buried.

Wael stood by his son’s head, consoling the rest of his family as they tried to comprehend the sudden loss.

His composure and strength have made Wael Dahdouh much more than the Al Jazeera Arabic bureau chief in Gaza. He is the face of the channel’s coverage of Israel’s war on Gaza and a symbol of the resilience of Gaza’s people.

When he lost his wife, son, daughter, and grandson to the Israeli air raid at the end of October, the world watched, aghast, as he ran into the hospital where the bodies of his four loved ones had been moved.

Al-Jazeera correspondent Wael Al-Dahdouh mourns over the body of one of his children
Wael Dahdouh mourns over the body of one of his children who was killed along with his wife and son in an Israeli attack, at Al-Aqsa hospital in Deir el-Balah in the southern Gaza Strip [Majdi Fathi/AFP]

After saying his emotional goodbyes to his children, grandchild, and life partner, he also seemed more determined than ever to perform his job.

Then in mid-December, he was badly injured in an attack that killed his colleague Samer Abudaqa, but he was again out and about covering the news shortly after.

The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate has documented the killing of 102 journalists and the injury of 71 others by Israeli forces since hostilities began in October.

The list of Al Jazeera journalists and staff who have lost members of their families or have died themselves is also growing.

In December, Anas al-Sharif lost his father to an Israeli air raid that struck his family’s house in Jabalia.

A few days earlier, on December 6, Moamen Al Sharafi, a correspondent for Al Jazeera Arabic, had 22 members of his family killed when an Israeli attack hit the house they were sheltering in at the Jabalia refugee camp.

In late October, broadcast engineer Mohamed Abu Al-Qumsan lost 19 members of his family, including his father and two sisters, during Israeli air raids on the same refugee camp.

Source: Al Jazeera