Al Jazeera’s Ismail Abu Omar, Ahmad Matar wounded in Israeli strike on Gaza

Correspondent Ismail Abu Omar and cameraman Ahmad Matar in serious condition, rushed to European Gaza Hospital.

Ismail Abu Omar in the operating room at the European Hospital in Khan Younis
Journalist Ismail Abu Omar at the European Gaza Hospital in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip [Al Jazeera]

Two journalists, including an Al Jazeera reporter, have been wounded in an Israeli attack north of Rafah in southern Gaza.

The condition of Al Jazeera Arabic correspondent Ismail Abu Omar and his cameraman Ahmad Matar was described as serious and both were transferred to the European Gaza Hospital in Khan Younis for treatment on Tuesday.

Abu Omar has had his right leg amputated, but pieces of shrapnel remained in his head and chest. Doctors were trying to save his left leg. He was undergoing surgery after suffering significant blood loss from a possible cut in the femoral artery.

The two journalists were hit by an Israeli drone strike in Miraj, north of Rafah city. They were documenting the condition of displaced Palestinians crammed into the area as Israel intensifies its attacks by land, sea and air across the besieged enclave, killing more than 28,000 people.

Doctor Muhammad al-Astal, an emergency physician at the hospital, said Abu Omar’s life was at risk due to his severe injuries.

screengrab from a Video footage showed fellow photographer Ahmed Matar,
Ahmed Matar, who was accompanying Al Jazeera correspondent Ismail Abu Omar, in hospital [Screengrab/Sanad]

Reporting from Rafah, Al Jazeera’s Hani Mahmoud said this is another tragedy hitting journalists trying to cover Israel’s war on Gaza.

“They were in the field documenting the living conditions of displaced Palestinian families in that particular area and documenting the horror that they have experienced and lived through in the past 24 hours as massive air strikes targeted major parts of Rafah city, where close to 100 people were killed,” he said.

“They were directly targeted by a missile fired from a drone.”


‘Everyone is a target’

Al Jazeera Media Network condemned what it said was a “deliberate targeting” of the journalists by Israeli forces.

The Government Media Office (GMO) in Gaza denounced the “targeting of the Al Jazeera channel crew for the fifth time” in the “deliberate” attack.

“This targeting comes within the framework of intimidation of journalists,” it said, to prevent media coverage of the military offensive in Gaza.

At least 126 journalists have been killed in Gaza since October 7, while 10 others have been arrested, according to GMO figures.

“This is not the first incident, and we are expecting this is not the last one. There are ongoing, systematic, almost consistent attacks on journalists. Since the beginning of this war, more than 100 journalists have been targeted,” Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud said.

“There are no terms to this genocidal war. Everyone is a target.”

Al Jazeera’s Gaza bureau chief Wael Dahdouh was wounded in an Israeli drone attack in December in which Al Jazeera Arabic’s cameraperson Samer Abudaqa was killed while they were reporting in southern Gaza.

Dahdouh lost his wife Amna, son Mahmoud, daughter Sham and grandson Adam in October after an Israeli air raid hit the home they were sheltering in at the Nuseirat refugee camp after being displaced from their house in Gaza City.

In January, the veteran journalist’s eldest son, Hamza, also an Al Jazeera journalist, was killed by an Israeli missile attack in Khan Younis, southern Gaza.

Source: Al Jazeera