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Al Jazeera journalist back reporting one day after burying son killed by Israeli air strike

LONDON: Al Jazeera journalist Wael Al-Dahdouh has returned to reporting on Israel’s conflict with Hamas from Gaza just one day after laying his son to rest.

Hamza Al-Dahdouh, 27, a journalist like his father, was killed in an Israeli attack in Gaza on Sunday alongside his colleague Mustafa Thuraya while on their way back from an assignment in Rafah.

The Israeli Defense Forces launched an airstrike on a car near Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, resulting in the death of the journalists.

A video shared on a YouTube channel linked to Al Jazeera showed Wael Al-Dahdouh in tears as he sat beside his dead son, holding his hand.

In a televised speech following his son’s funeral, he said that journalists in Gaza would continue their work despite the conditions they were forced to operate in.

“To Hamza and to all the martyrs I say we will remain faithful.” Al-Dahdouh said. “This is the road that we have chosen consciously. We have offered much, we have offered a lot of blood because this is our destiny. We shall continue.”

He added: “All the world needs to see what is happening here. 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.”

Prior to the death of his son, Al-Dahdouh lost his wife, another son, daughter, and grandson in an Israeli air strike on Oct. 25. He became well-known after he learned of the losses during a live broadcast.

US secretary of state Antony Blinken expressed his condolences for the Al-Dahdouh family’s loss, calling Sunday’s killings an “unimaginable tragedy.”

“One (journalist killed) is far too many,” Blinken said at a press conference in Doha.

As Al-Dahdouh returned to reporting, journalists expressed admiration for his determination on social media.

Deputy editor-in-chief for Thompson Reuters, Barry Malone, expressed his admiration in a post on X stating: “Wael Dahdouh back on air. I’m out of words to describe this man.”

Rana Ayyub, an Indian journalist and opinion columnist for The Washington Post, urged against normalizing the events in Gaza: “Neither Wael Dahdouh, nor any of the journalists in Gaza, needed to be brave for doing their journalism.

“They did not have to be murdered to get the attention of the world.”

Al Jazeera condemned the killing of Al-Dahdouh’s son and Thuraya, calling it a deliberate attack and vowed to take legal action against the perpetrators.

A statement from the Israeli military said that “an IDF aircraft identified and struck a terrorist who operated an aircraft that posed a threat to IDF troops.

“We are aware of the reports that during the strike, two other suspects who were in the same vehicle as the terrorist were also hit.”

On Dec. 16, the Israeli army issued a statement about the death of another Al Jazeera journalist in Gaza, saying that they had never intentionally targeted journalists and would not do so in the future.

The number of journalists and media workers killed by the Israeli military since the beginning of the conflict has reached 79, media rights organization Committee to Protect Journalists said on Monday.