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Israeli strike kills two Palestinian journalists in Gaza, officials say

AN Israeli air strike on a car near Rafah in southern Gaza killed two Palestinian journalists who were out reporting, according to health officials in Gaza and the journalists’ union there.

Hamza Al-Dahdouh and Mustafa Thuraya were both freelancers. Al-Dahdouh had done freelance work for Al Jazeera and was the son of the Qatar-based TV station’s chief correspondent in Gaza, Wael Al-Dahdouh. A third freelancer, Hazem Rajab, was wounded.

Al Jazeera Media Network condemned the killing of the two journalists and said it had been a deliberate attack.

“We urge the International Criminal Court, the governments and human rights organisations, and the United Nations to hold Israel accountable for its heinous crimes and demand an end to the targeting and killing of journalists,” the network said in a statement.

The Israel Defence Forces did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the strike or on the TV network’s allegation that the two journalists had been deliberately targetted.

In a statement on December 16, in response to the death of another Al Jazeera journalist in Gaza, the Israeli army said “The IDF has never, and will never, deliberately target journalists”.

The Israel-Hamas war that started on Oct. 7 has been deadly for journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an international watchdog, said that as of Saturday, 77 journalists and media workers had been killed – 70 Palestinians, four Israelis and three Lebanese.

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The Hamas-run Gaza government’s media office said the two new deaths raised its own tally of journalists killed by the Israeli offensive to 109.

A video posted on an Al Jazeera-linked YouTube channel showed Wael Al-Dahdouh crying next to his son’s body and holding his hand. Later, after his son’s burial, he said in televised remarks that journalists in Gaza would keep doing their job.

“All the world needs to see what is happening here,” he said.

Wael Al-Dahdouh is particularly well known to viewers across the Middle East after he learned during a live broadcast last month that his wife, another son, daughter and grandson had been killed in an Israeli air strike.

Among the journalists who have died covering the conflict was Reuters visuals journalist Issam Abdallah. A Lebanese citizen, he was killed on Oct. 13 by an Israeli tank crew while filming cross-border shelling in Lebanon, a Reuters investigation has found.