An Israeli airstrike killed several family members of Al Jazeera correspondent Wael al-Dahdouh in Nuseirat refugee camp, central Gaza Strip, on Wednesday.
More than 100 people were in the building that was hit in the strike, including many members of the al-Dahdouh and Awad families. A number of the people who were building at the time are still missing, Al Jazeera said.
The al-Dahdouh family had fled to Nuseirat camp after Israel’s 12 October evacuation order affecting more than one million people in the northern half of the Gaza Strip.
Wael al-Dahdouh learned of the killing of his family while live on air, according to Mohamed Moawad, Al Jazeera’s managing editor:The live broadcast showed the iconic Al Jazeera correspondent, who has been covering Israel’s genocidal war of extermination in Gaza since 7 October, bidding farewell to his family, including his wife, his son Mahmoud and daughter Sham.
Al Jazeera aired footage of al-Dahdouh kneeling over the body of a boy while saying “they take revenge on us through our children.”Al-Dahdouh said that the killing of his family was part of Israel’s ongoing attacks targeting women, children and civilians:
Blinken asks Qatar to censor Al Jazeera
The killing of the Al Jazeera correspondent’s family comes days after the US secretary of state told a group of American Jewish community leaders that he had asked the Qatari prime minister to tone down the broadcaster’s coverage of the war in Gaza.
Axios reported on Wednesday that Antony Blinken said that he made that request to the Gulf monarchy two weeks ago, “according to three people who attended the meeting.”Israel has refused to allow foreign correspondents access to the Gaza Strip and Al Jazeera is one of only a few international broadcasters continuously covering the war, which has been sanitized in the Western and Israeli press.
According to Axios, Blinken reportedly “said he asked the Qataris to ‘turn down the volume on Al Jazeera’s coverage because it is full of anti-Israel incitement,’ according to one source.”
“Blinken didn’t give any examples of the heightened rhetoric he asked to be dialed back,” Axios added, and said that the State Department declined to comment on his remarks.
Israel moves to close Al Jazeera’s Jerusalem bureau
Meanwhile, Israel has moved to close Al Jazeera’s local bureau.“We are deeply concerned by Israeli officials’ threats to censor media coverage of the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict, using vague accusations of harming national morale,” Sherif Mansour from the Committee to Protect Journalists said last week.
“A plurality of media voices is essential in order to hold power to account, especially in times of war,” Mansour added.
Israel threatened to close Al Jazeera’s Jerusalem bureau in 2017, the press freedom watchdog said.
Longtime Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh was killed by an Israeli military sniper while covering a raid in the West Bank city of Jenin in May 2022.
No one has been held accountable for her death, and the US has aided Israel in the cover-up of her targeted killing:Two Al Jazeera journalists were among six wounded in an Israeli strike on southern Lebanon on 13 October that killed Reuters videographer Issam Abdallah.
Attacks on journalists in Gaza
Wael al-Dahdouh has also been injured by Israeli forces while reporting. He was struck in the arm by bullet shrapnel while covering Gaza’s Great March of Return protests in May 2018.
Al-Dahdouh described Israel’s targeting of a tower housing the offices of several media outlets, including Al Jazeera and the Associated Press, in Gaza City in May 2021:Al-Dahdouh said after the 2021 attack that Palestinian journalists in Gaza were undeterred.
“Our voices will continue to be heard,” he said.
At least 21 Palestinian journalists have been killed in Gaza since 7 October, according to the International Federation of Journalists.
Palestinian outlets reported on Wednesday that journalist Jamal al-Faqaawi was killed in an Israeli airstrike on his home in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip:More than 6,500 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed since 7 October.