Killed Israeli Hostages Had White Flag, Inquiry Finds: Israel-Hamas War Updates

Killed Israeli Hostages Had White Flag, Inquiry Finds: Israel-Hamas War Updates

An Al Jazeera cameraman was killed and the network’s Arabic-language Gaza Strip bureau chief was wounded on Friday during an attack in southern Gaza, Al Jazeera said, the latest in a long string of journalist casualties in the war.

The cameraman, Samer Abu Daqqa, and Wael al-Dahdouh, the bureau chief, were covering the aftermath of airstrikes at a U.N. school-turned-shelter in Khan Younis when both were wounded, the network said. Mr. al-Dahdouh told Al Jazeera that he was able to walk out of the area and seek help. Mr. Abu Daqqa bled to death from his injuries, as emergency medical help was unable to reach him, the network said.

Mr. Abu Daqqa, 45, was the 13th Al Jazeera journalist killed since the network opened in 1996, according to Al Jazeera.

His funeral was held in Khan Younis on Saturday. Al Jazeera televised part of his funeral, where Mr. al-Dahdouh spoke alongside dozens of other colleagues, family members. Fellow journalists, including Mr. al-Dahdouh, wept in anguish, some caressing the cameraman’s bloodied face. His press flak jacket and blue helmet rested atop his shrouded body. Mr. al-Dahdouh accused Israeli forces of targeting dozens of journalists, their offices and their families. “We will continue to do our duty with the best professionalism and transparency,” despite the targeting of journalists, he said. “We will carry our message.”

The Israeli military said that it “has never, and will never, deliberately target journalists,” and it takes “operationally feasible measures” to protect civilians and journalists. Khan Younis is one of three areas that Israel has said it is targeting in its battle to eradicate Hamas from Gaza.

In October, Mr. al-Dahdouh’s wife, son, daughter and infant grandson were killed at the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, where they had been sheltering.

Mohamed Moawad, Al Jazeera’s managing editor, described Mr. Abu Daqqa as “a compassionate soul” whose photography “captured the raw and unfiltered reality and life in Gaza.”

“In the pursuit of truth, our cameraman faced immense risks to bring viewers a deeper understanding of the human experience in Gaza,” he said in a post on social media. “His lens became a window into the lives of those affected by conflict, shedding light on stories that needed to be told.”

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a nonprofit organization based in New York that defends the rights of journalists around the world, 64 journalists and media workers have been killed in Gaza since the war between Israel and Hamas began on Oct. 7, more than in any other similar period of time since the group started collecting data in 1992.

The C.P.J. defines journalists as “people who cover news or comment on public affairs through print, digital, broadcast media and other means,” and media workers as essential support staff, including translators, drivers and fixers. The group has said it does not include people in its tallies if there is evidence of their “acting on behalf of militant groups or serving in a military capacity at the time of their deaths.”

According to the C.P.J.’s data, some of the 64 killed in Gaza were freelancers and did not work for traditional news outlets, and its website noted that it was unclear whether all of them were covering the conflict at the time of their deaths. Israel and Egypt have largely prevented international journalists from entering the enclave since the conflict began; Hamas, which controls Gaza, has long restricted what the news media there can cover.

Carlos Martínez de la Serna, C.P.J.’s program director, said the organization was concerned about “the pattern of attacks on Al Jazeera journalists and their families.”

In a statement, Al Jazeera blamed Israel for Friday’s attack in Khan Younis and for “systematically targeting and killing Al Jazeera journalists and their families.” It urged “the international community, media freedom organizations, and the International Criminal Court to take immediate action to hold the Israeli government and military accountable.”

John Kirby, a White House spokesman, said he was not aware of any evidence that Israel was intentionally targeting journalists, who he said must be protected.

“It’s never acceptable to deliberately target them, as they do such vital, dangerous, dangerous work,” he said, adding, “That’s a principle that we’re going to continue to abide by.”

International watchdogs have said that an Israeli strike on Oct. 13 that killed a videographer for the Reuters news agency and injured six other journalists was a targeted attack carried out by the Israeli military. Earlier this year, a C.P.J. report found that no one had been held accountable for nearly 20 journalists killed by the Israeli military since 2001.

Katie Rogers contributed reporting.