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War on Gaza: Al Jazeera rejects Israeli army's 'false justification' of journalist's killing

The Qatar-based network says Hamza al-Dahdouh and his colleague were killed 'simply for doing' their jobs
Al Jazeera's bureau chief in Gaza, Wael Al-Dahdouh (C) hugs his daughter during the funeral of his son Hamza Wael Dahdouh who was killed in an Israeli air strike 7 January 2024 (AFP)
Al Jazeera's bureau chief in Gaza, Wael al-Dahdouh, hugs his daughter during the funeral of his son Hamza Wael al-Dahdouh, who was killed in an Israeli air strike 7 January 2024 (AFP)

Al Jazeera Media Network has dismissed Israeli justifications for the killing of one of its Palestinian journalists as "false and misleading". 

The Qatar-based network said Friday Hamza Wael al-Dahdouh, killed on 7 January 2024 along with another journalist, Mustafa Thuria (also spelled Thuraya), was targeted "simply for doing his job". 

The Israeli army alleged the two reporters were members of "Gaza-based terrorist organisations". It provided no photo or video evidence showing links between the journalists and said groups. 

The families of both journalists rejected the claim as  "fabricated" and "false". 

Al Jazeera said it was "considerably surprised" by the accusation, which it "strongly condemned and wholly rejected".

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"Hamza Wael Al-Dahdouh was among a group of journalists from various media organisations (also including Mustafa Thuria) covering the IDF's devastating bombing of displaced families which resulted in the tragic and unjustified killing of ten Palestinians,” the network said in a statement sent to Middle East Eye. 

“He, like so many journalists before him, was killed simply for doing his job and for shining a light on events that the Israeli army would rather stay in the dark and hidden from scrutiny.”

The network also highlighted what it called Israel's "well-known history of making false allegations and of fabricating evidence to conceal its heinous actions, including against journalists". 

'Israel has well-known history of making false allegations and of fabricating evidence to conceal its heinous actions'

- Al Jazeera Media Network

Al Jazeera has a frosty relationship with Israel despite being one of the first Arab news outlets in the region to interview Israeli figures on-air. 

In 2022, Palestinian-American Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot dead by an Israeli soldier while reporting in Jenin.

The Israeli army initially denied killing Abu Akleh, but months later admitted she was indeed shot dead by an Israeli soldier. 

In October, Wael al-Dahdouh, Hamza's father and Al Jazeera Arabic's Gaza bureau chief, lost his wife, daughter, another son and a grandson when they were killed by an Israeli air strike while sheltering in a relative's home.

Last month, Wael was himself wounded by an Israeli strike that killed his Al Jazeera colleague, Samer Abudaqa.

Wael is considered by many across the Arab world to be the face of Al Jazeera's Gaza coverage.

Hamza worked as a producer and videographer, including for Al Jazeera, and had more than one million followers on Instagram. 

Al Jazeera has accused Israel of deliberately targeting Wael and his family. 

Follow Middle East Eye's live coverage of the Israel-Palestine war

Since Israel's war on Gaza began on 7 October in the aftermath of a deadly Hamas assault, 117 journalists have been killed by Israeli forces and 10 others detained, according to the Gaza government media office. 

At least 23,843 people have been killed overall, the majority of them children and women. 

Another 60,000 have been wounded and more than 7,000 remain missing, believed to be dead and buried under rubble. 

In Israel, at least 1,300 people have been killed during Palestinian attacks and in fighting during and since 7 October, including at least 30 children and 300 women.

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