Funeral held for Al Jazeera journalist killed in Israel strike

AFP , Saturday 16 Dec 2023

Dozens of journalists took part in a funeral on Saturday for an Al Jazeera cameraman killed in an Israeli strike in the south of the war-torn Gaza Strip.

Colleagues and family members mourn over the body of Al Jazeera cameraman Samer Abu Daqa
Colleagues and family members mourn over the body of Al Jazeera cameraman Samer Abu Daqa, who was killed during Israeli bombardment, during his funeral in Khan Yunis on the southern Gaza Strip on December 16, 2023. Photo: AFP


Samer Abu Daqqa's body, bearing his bullet-proof vest and helmet, was carried through a crowd in the city of Khan Yunis before being buried in a grave dug by fellow journalists.

His mother Umm Maher Abu Daqqa accused Israel of targeting journalists, "especially those working for Al Jazeera".

Abu Daqqa, born in 1978, was reporting from a school in Khan Yunis when he was hit by a drone strike on Friday, said the Qatar-based Al Jazeera television network.

His colleague, Gaza bureau chief Wael al-Dahdouh, was wounded in the same attack. Dahdouh had lost his wife, two children and grandchild in a separate Israeli strike in the initial weeks of the war.

"Given the ongoing exchanges of fire, remaining in an active combat zone has inherent risks," the Israeli army said.

Dahdouh said the Israeli army "deliberately" targets journalists in Gaza.

"The occupation (Israeli army) does not want the press. It deliberately targeted us," he told AFP.

"There was only the Al Jazeera team and the civil defence in the area."

Three members of the civil defence force were also killed in the strike and their funerals were held on Saturday.

On Friday, Al Jazeera said it held "Israel accountable for systematically targeting and killing Al Jazeera journalists and their families".

"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," it said in a statement.

More than 60 journalists and media staff have died since the start of the Israeli war on Gaza on October 7, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

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