Wael al-Dahdouh, a well-known Palestinian correspondent for Al Jazeera TV who has spent his career covering Gaza, had already lost his wife, a son, a daughter and an infant grandson in an Israeli airstrike in October.
On Sunday, he lost another member of his family to the war: his eldest son, Hamza, was killed in an Israeli airstrike that left two journalists dead and wounded two others, according to the authorities in Gaza.
The official Palestinian news agency, Wafa, reported that an Israeli drone strike hit the car Hamza al-Dahdouh was traveling in west of the southern city of Khan Younis. He was killed along with another journalist, Mustafa Thuraya. Two others, Ahmed Al-Burash and Amer Abu Amr, were injured.
Wael al-Dahdouh said his son was working for Al Jazeera at the time of his death. Wafa reported that the two injured men worked for Palestine Today, a TV channel.
Photos from news agencies of the attack’s aftermath showed a burned-out sedan that was missing its windshield and most of its roof and hood. In a video apparently taken shortly after Sunday’s airstrike and shared with journalists on WhatsApp, a crowd gathers around the car. Someone throws a blanket over a body in the driver’s seat, while others carry another person from the passenger side.
“Nothing is harder than the pain of loss. And when you experience this pain time after time, it becomes harder and more severe,” Wael al-Dahdouh told Al Jazeera after his son’s death. He added: “I wish that the blood of my son Hamza will be the last from journalists and the last from people here in Gaza, and for this massacre to stop.”
The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Military officials have said it does not target journalists and takes measures to protect them and other civilians.
As of Saturday, at least 70 Palestinian journalists and media workers had been killed in Gaza, some while covering the conflict, some when they were at home or sheltering with their families, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, which said it was also investigating “numerous” other reports of journalists being killed.
Their deaths have made it difficult to obtain information about the scale and destructiveness of the fighting, a problem worsened by degraded communications networks and the lack of permission from Israel and Egypt for foreign journalists to enter Gaza.
The government media office in Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas, called the killings of Mr. al-Dahdouh and Mr. Thuraya another attempt to “intimidate journalists” and “obscure the truth” in a statement on Sunday.
The family of Wael al-Dahdouh, the Gaza bureau chief for Al Jazeera’s Arabic-language service, had taken shelter at the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza in late October after evacuating from their home in Gaza City. That was where they were hit by the Israeli airstrike, Al Jazeera reported at the time. He was reporting live when he found out.
Last month, Wael al-Dahdouh was injured, and the camera operator he was working with was killed, after what Al Jazeera said was a drone strike on a school-turned-shelter in Khan Younis where they were working. Al Jazeera reported that strike, too, was an Israeli attack.
Hamza al-Dahdouh was covering the airstrikes, too. Hours before his death, Hamza, who described himself on Instagram as a photographer, journalist, cameraman and producer, appeared to be behind the camera, posting photos of destroyed buildings in Gaza and of a colleague in a bulletproof vest marked “Press” broadcasting from a rubble-strewn street.
On Saturday, Hamza had posted a photo of his father. “Do not despair of recovery and do not despair of God’s mercy,” he wrote, “and be certain that God will reward you well for being patient.”
His father responded in a post of his own, “May God protect you.”