The death of Al Jazeera Arabic journalist Samer Abu Daqqa has cast a somber light on the perils faced by journalists covering conflict zones. Abu Daqqa lost his life while courageously reporting on an Israeli attack on a school in Khan Younis, southern Gaza. The incident unfolded on a Friday, as he and bureau chief Wael Dahdouh covered an earlier air strike at Farhana school, only to become victims of another Israeli missile attack.

Wael Dahdouh, struck by shrapnel on his upper arm, managed to escape to Nasser hospital, where he received treatment for minor injuries. However, Abu Daqqa found himself trapped in the school for hours, as paramedics struggled to reach the site due to ongoing Israeli fire. Witnesses reported heavy shelling in the area, creating a perilous environment for those attempting to rescue the injured.

Who was Samer Abu Daqqa?

Samer Abu Daqqa, a dedicated journalist, had been working tirelessly to shed light on the plight of Palestinians in Gaza. His partnership with Wael Dahdouh extended beyond professional collaboration; they formed a formidable team on the ground, documenting the harsh realities of the conflict.

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The duo had been working together with Al Jazeera Arabic since before the war, providing a crucial perspective on the unfolding events in Gaza. Hani Mahmoud, a colleague, attested to their professionalism, stating, “[Samer] and Wael make up a very professional, strong team on the ground, documenting everything and bringing all the facts and live pictures of what the Palestinian people have been going through.”

Their dedication was especially poignant during this war, marked by its intensity, scale, and the sheer magnitude of destruction. Abu Daqqa and Dahdouh were at the forefront of covering every detail, ensuring that the world was informed about the human cost of the conflict.

The devastating loss of Samer Abu Daqqa comes in the wake of personal tragedy for Wael Dahdouh. In late October, Dahdouh lost four family members in an Israeli air raid. Seeking refuge in Nuseirat camp in the center of Gaza, Dahdouh’s home was bombed by Israeli forces, claiming the lives of his wife, Um Hamza, his 15-year-old son, Mahmoud, his seven-year-old daughter, Sham, and his grandson, Adam.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) expressed shock at the attack, condemning it and reiterating the demand for the protection of journalists’ lives. An IFJ report revealed the grim statistic that 72 percent of journalists who lost their lives on the job this year were killed in the Gaza war, underscoring the perilous nature of reporting in conflict zones.

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Jodie Ginsberg, the president of the Committee to Protect Journalists, emphasized the vital role journalists play in documenting the impact of conflicts. She voiced concern over the perceived abandonment of Palestinian journalists by the international community, stating, “The international governments’ failure to push for an end to this conflict is increasingly creating a real sense of abandonment amongst the community and particularly amongst the journalist community in Palestine and the region.”