Al Jazeera’s Gaza bureau chief, Wael Al-Dahdou, learned while reporting live that his wife, daughter, and son had been killed by an Israeli airstrike on a building where they’d been seeking refuge.
“There have been several airstrikes in this area, adjacent to Wafa hospital…. This looks like it’s going to be a bloody night,” Al-Dahdou said in a live clip of that devastating moment, as he reported on a separate Israeli airstrike in central Gaza.
The veteran journalist could then be heard talking to someone in the background: “What, what happened? They don’t know where they are?” Someone in the background replied, “Your girl, the girl is in the hospital…”
In a live broadcast, an emotional Al Jazeera anchor broke the news that the entire family of his colleague had been killed in the airstrike in central Gaza.
The anchor, who appeared to be crying while reporting about the incident, said that Al-Dahdouh’s wife, daughter, and son had been killed.
“Dahdouh was live on our channel a little while ago, reporting about the airstrike in the area that his family was killed,” the anchor said.
In separate footage aired on Al Jazeera Arabic, a devastated Al-Dahdouh could be seen holding the bodies of his slain loved ones in a hospital.
In a statement, he said his family had fled their home in the northern Gaza Strip following Israel’s order to evacuate and were staying in the Nuseirat refugee camp.
Aljazeera' s brave veteran journalist Wael Dahdouh's wife, son and daughter were killed in an Israelis airstrike which targeted a shelter house they had fled to. Wael received the news while on air covering the nonstop Israeli strikes on Gaza! pic.twitter.com/yT7jYdG8jn
— Mohamed Moawad (@moawady) October 25, 2023
“What just happened is clear; it’s part of the ongoing targeting of women and children in Gaza,” he said, according to Al Jazeera. “I was just reporting on the Israeli strikes that have targeted the Nuseirat area.
“We knew the Israeli occupation would not leave us without punishing us.”
In a clip circulating on social media, Al-Dahdouh said his family were being housed in what was “supposed to be the safe area” for Palestinians of Gaza City to evacuate to.
“We had some doubts that the Israeli army would leave this area unpunished,” he said.
Among those killed was Al-Dahdouh’s son, Mahmoud, who was a senior in high school and aspiring journalist, and his 7-year-old daughter, Sham, Al Jazeera reported. Other members of his extended family remain missing.
In a video shared with The Daily Beast, Sham spoke during a mock report about the destruction of Gaza. “A day living in the Gaza Strip is continuous violence,” the boy says.
In a statement, Al Jazeera condemned the airstrike and criticized Israeli for what it described as an “indiscriminate assault.”
“Al Jazeera is deeply concerned about the safety, and well-being of our colleagues in Gaza and hold the Israeli authorities responsible for their security,” the network wrote. “We urge the international community to intervene and put an end to these attacks on civilians, thereby safeguarding innocent lives.”
The airstrike came just hours after an Axios report revealed that U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met with the Qatari prime minister to ask Al Jazeera, which is funded by the Qatari government, to tamp down its rhetoric against Israel in its coverage of the war—reportedly out of fears that the coverage could escalate further violence in the Middle East.
Safwat al-Kahlout, a producer for Al Jazeera Arabic, said Al-Dahdouh was a Gaza native, and his family was “well known” throughout the strip.
“He paid the bill for reporting the truth,” al-Kahlout said.
In an article about the airstrike, the Palestinian Chronicle called Al-Dahdouh an “iconic” reporter in Gaza who’s regularly “stood against a recurring background of Israeli wars on Gaza, reporting on the losses suffered by his community, neighborhood and friends.”
Al-Dahdouh, 53, joined Al Jazeera in 2004 and has headed its office in Gaza ever since, reported the Middle East Monitor in 2021.