Al Jazeera says journalist killed in Israeli strike on Khan Younis

Qatari outlet claims Samer Abu Daqqa died of wounds after Israeli troops blocked ambulances; Gaza bureau chief also wounded in Gaza strike; White House offers condolences

Samer Abu Daqqa. (Courtesy)
Samer Abu Daqqa. (Courtesy)

Al Jazeera cameraman Samer Abu Daqqa was killed and his colleague wounded in an IDF strike in the southern Gaza Strip on Friday, the Qatari network said.

Al Jazeera initially said Abu Daqqa and Gaza bureau chief Wael Al-Dahdouh were wounded in a school in Khan Younis, where they were hit by “shrapnel from an Israeli missile attack.”

In a subsequent statement, Al Jazeera attributed the injuries to a drone strike, saying: “Following Samer’s injury, he was left to bleed to death for over five hours, as Israeli forces prevented ambulances and rescue workers from reaching him, denying the much-needed emergency treatment.”

Israel has been fighting Hamas in Gaza since the terror group’s October 7 massacre, which saw some 3,000 terrorists burst across the border, killing some 1,200 people — mostly civilians, slaughtered in their homes and at a music festival amid brutal atrocities — and seizing over 240 hostages of all ages under the cover of a deluge of thousands of rockets fired at Israeli towns and cities.

Israel says its offensive is aimed at destroying Hamas’s military and governance capabilities, and has vowed to eliminate the entire terror group, which rules the Strip. It says it is targeting all areas where Hamas operates, while seeking to minimize civilian casualties.

Al-Dahdouh was wounded in the arm and transferred to Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, according to an AFP journalist.

Al Jazeera said Al-Dahdouh was able to leave the area of the strike to look for help, “but by the time he reached an ambulance, medics said they could not return to the site of the attack because it was too dangerous.”

Veteran Al-Jazeera correspondent Wael Al-Dahdouh receives medical care after he was injured while covering ongoing battles between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, at Nasser hospital in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on December 15, 2023. (AFP)

The IDF did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment.

Khan Younis is a Hamas stronghold in southern Gaza, where Israeli officials say much of the Hamas terror group’s leadership is located. The city has been a focal point of fighting between Israel and Hamas since the IDF expanded its ground operation to the south of the Strip in early December.

The White House offered its condolences after the journalist was killed.

“I just want to offer our deepest condolences to Al Jazeera to and to the family and loved ones of Sameer Abu Daqqa, who was on the ground doing necessary important work for not only your viewers but to people all around the world,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said during a phone briefing with reporters.

Al Jazeera managing editor Mohamed Moawad paid tribute to Abu Daqqa on X, formerly Twitter, saying: “His unwavering commitment to truth and storytelling has left an indelible mark on our team.

“Samer, whose lens captured the raw and unfiltered reality of life in Gaza, was not just a skilled professional but a compassionate soul who understood the power of visual storytelling.

“In the pursuit of truth, our cameraman faced immense risks to bring viewers a deeper understanding of the human experience in Gaza,” Moawad said.

In late October, emotional footage showed Al-Dahdouh learning on camera that his wife and two children died in an Israeli strike on Gaza’s Nuseirat refugee camp.

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