France Media Agency Journalists mourn during the funeral of their colleague from the Al Jazeera television network, journalist Hamza Wael Dahdouh, who was killed in an Israeli airstrike, in Rafah, Gaza Strip, January 7, 2024.
France Media Agency in the Palestinian Territories
- Middle East
Palestinian Hamas and relatives of the two Al Jazeera journalists killed Sunday in the Gaza Strip in an Israeli strike rejected Thursday the Israeli army's accusations describing them as “terrorist agents”.
“These are inventions,” Wael Dahdouh, head of the Al Jazeera television channel in Gaza and father of one of the two children, told Agence France-Presse (AFP). deceased, Hamza Dahdouh, who had “years of experience in journalism.”
“It is clear” that the Israeli authorities “are trying to defend themselves, to justify what happened and to divert attention,” added Mr. Dahdouh, who had already lost his wife and two of his children at the end of October in an Israeli strike.
These are “purely false accusations”, Mohammed Thuraya, the cousin of the other killed reporter, Moustafa Thuraya, who collaborated with various international media including AFP, also reacted to AFP.
“He had worked in journalism for several years, as a cameraman and photographer” and was “known for his professionalism,” he added.
In a statement on the night of Wednesday to Thursday, Hamas described the accusations “against these two journalists” as “hollow” and “false”. Israel “invokes false pretexts to justify its massacres and crimes against Palestinian civilians and journalists,” according to Hamas.
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Hamza Dahdouh and Moustafa Thuraya were killed on Sunday in a strike on their car in the south of the Palestinian territory, while they were on assignment for the Qatari channel.
Wednesday evening, the Israeli army claimed that “the two were piloting drones that presented an imminent threat to Israeli troops” and described them as “terrorist agents”, members of Hamas in relation to concerns Moustafa Thuraya, and of the armed group Islamic Jihad regarding Hamza Dahdouh.
Questioned Wednesday by AFP about the type of drones piloted and the nature of the threat invoked, the army responded Thursday “having nothing to add.”
The war in Gaza was triggered by the Hamas attacks on October 7, which left some 1,140 dead on Israeli soil, mostly civilians, according to an AFP count based on the Israeli toll.
The war in Gaza launched in retaliation by Israel has since left nearly 23,500 dead and 60,000 injured, mostly civilians, according to the Health Ministry of Hamas, the Islamist movement in power in the Gaza Strip.