Gaza bureau chief’s colleagues pay tribute to the veteran reporter as he mourns his family killed in Israeli air raid.
Members of the Al Jazeera Media Network condemn the killing of their colleague Wael Dahdouh’s wife, son, daughter and grandson in the central Gaza Strip.
Members of the Dahdouh and Awad families were hit by Israeli shelling at the home they were staying in at the Nuseirat refugee camp.
Al Jazeera Arabic presenter Tamer Almisshal said the killing of Dahdouh’s family members is part of ongoing Israeli targeting of Palestinian journalists, specifically of Dahdouh, Al Jazeera Arabic’s Gaza bureau chief, whom Almisshal referred to as the “voice of Gaza”.
“Wael Al-Dahdouh is a pillar in the world of journalism and in Gaza. He’s covered the Israeli offensives and wars on Gaza for years, the targeting of journalists, and the killing of women and children.
“Wael has continued to report on Israeli atrocities despite the ongoing threats against him and his family, and he’s refused to leave Gaza in order to convey to the world what is happening there,” Almisshal said.
“His voice will go on – that we can guarantee. All our voices will go on, and we’ll continue to cover this assault to get the truth out every day.”
Dahdouh’s family, who lived in Gaza City, fled Israel’s bombardment to stay with relatives in Nuseirat while he stayed behind in Gaza City to continue covering the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip.
While reporting from Gaza City, Dahdouh was told that an air raid had targeted a building that destroyed his extended family’s house.
His wife; son Mahmoud, who was a senior in high school; and his seven-year-old daughter, Sham, were killed. Hours later, it was confirmed that his grandson Adam had died as well.
Other members of his family are still missing.
Speaking from Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, Al Jazeera’s Walid al-Omary described what happened as “beyond comprehension” and part of Israel’s “relentless targeting of Palestinians”.
“The family had moved to the south of the strip, but that did not keep them safe. The Israeli army targeted them. This is proof that there isn’t a single safe zone in Gaza,” al-Omary said.
Al Jazeera’s Gaza correspondent Youmna Elsayed said it was a “shock that we reporters, who report to the world what’s happening around us, have to report the story of our colleagues or of our own families.
“Wael was always a strong man. We all turn to him when we’re in tragedy or not feeling safe. He calms everyone, speaks to us like a big brother and not just a bureau chief. He’s always there when we need him.”
Despite the loss of his family members, Dahdouh’s colleagues said they expect him to continue to report on the ongoing Israeli offensive on Gaza.
“This is a man who has honestly and credibly been reporting from his homeland for so many years. And now it hit him personally. It came home to haunt him, but he’s still resilient, and he will continue to be so,” Al Jazeera political analyst Marwan Bishara said.
At least 22 journalists have been killed by Israeli attacks in the war that began on October 7.
ElSayed was on air from Gaza City on October 7 when an Israeli strike hit the building behind her. She was uninjured.
Five days later, two Al Jazeera Arabic reporters were wounded in a strike that killed Reuters journalist Essam Abdullah on the Lebanon-Israel border.
On May 11, 2022, Al Jazeera Arabic correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh was shot dead by an Israeli soldier while covering a raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.
A UN inquiry found last week that Israeli forces used “lethal force without justification” and violated her “right to life”.