The government media office in Gaza has reported a high number of journalist fatalities, with the count reaching 110 since the onset of the Israeli assault on the Strip.
The United Nations has expressed serious alarm over the rising number of journalists killed by Israel in Gaza. This statement comes in the wake of the tragic deaths of two journalists, who were killed by an Israeli strike on their vehicle.
Al Jazeera announced on Sunday that two of its Palestinian journalists were killed in Rafah, a city in the southern region of Gaza. The network has described what happened as an Israeli “targeted killing.”
“Very concerned by high death toll of media workers in Gaza. Killings of all journalists, including Hamza Al-Dahdouh & Mustafa Abu Thurayya in reported IDF strike on car, must be thoroughly, independently investigated to ensure strict compliance with international law, and violations prosecuted,” the UN rights office said on X, formerly Twitter.
The UN emphasised the need for a rigorous and independent investigation into the deaths of Hamza Wael Dahdouh and Mustafa Abu Thuria in the IDF strike on their car.
Dahdouh and Thuria, who also contributed as freelance video journalists for AFP and other news outlets, were killed while en route to an assignment for Al Jazeera in the Gaza Strip, as per the network’s statement.
Al Jazeera has vehemently condemned this act, labelling it an assassination, and has called for immediate legal action against the Israeli forces.
The network’s statement highlighted the deliberate nature of these attacks, aimed at intimidating journalists and undermining press freedom, as well as the right to life.
“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,” Dahdouh said after burying his son.
The bereaved journalist returned on air in the evening after burying his son to continue his reporting of the ongoing Israeli atrocities in Gaza.
Additionally, a third journalist, Hazem Rajab, sustained serious injuries during the incident.
Witnesses relayed to AFP that the journalists’ car was struck by two rockets; one impacting the front of the vehicle and the other fatally hitting Dahdouh, who was seated next to the driver.
Florencia Soto Nino, Deputy Spokeswoman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York, has also addressed the allegations of the deliberate attack: “This is something that at the moment we cannot verify. But what we know is that many of them [journalists] have died and we have repeatedly called for their profession to be respected so that they are able to do it freely and in safety.”
The Israeli army, in response to an AFP inquiry, stated that it had “struck a terrorist who operated an aircraft that posed a threat to IDF troops,” and said that “two other suspects who were in the same vehicle as the terrorist were also hit”.
The Committee to Protect Journalists, based in New York, reports that at least 79 journalists and media professionals, predominantly Palestinian, have been killed since the onset of the war.
According to the latest figures from the Gaza health ministry, Israel’s relentless bombardment and ground invasion of Gaza have resulted in the deaths of more than 23,000 Palestinians, primarily women and children.