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85 journalists killed in Gaza war, deadliest for the press in 30 years

The Committee to Protect Journalists has condemned the continued targeting of journalists in Gaza, coinciding with reports of Al Jazeera reporters sustaining serious injuries in an Israel strike in Rafah.
MOHAMMED ABED/AFP via Getty Images

Journalists in the Gaza Strip face death and injury almost daily in Israel’s relentless air and ground campaign in the enclave. One rights group says the war that has been ongoing since Oct. 7 is the deadliest period for media workers in more than 30 years with at least 85 journalists killed so far.

On Tuesday, Al Jazeera said two of its reporters were critically injured in an Israeli drone strike in Gaza’s southern city of Rafah.

Al Jazeera correspondent Ismail Abu Omar and cameraman Ahmad Matar were reporting on the worsening living conditions in Rafah, where nearly 1.5 million people are currently crammed amid a looming Israeli ground offensive, according to the Qatari-owned channel.

The two reporters were taken to the European Hospital in Khan Younis. Abu Omar's leg was amputated. A doctor at the hospital told Al Jazeera that his condition remains critical, as shrapnel is still lodged in his head and chest.

There is no information on Matar’s condition yet.

Dozens of journalists have been killed since the start of the war, including many Al Jazeera reporters.

The highest-profile case is that of Wael Dahdouh, Al Jazeera's Gaza bureau chief, who lost most of his family members in Israeli strikes. In October, his wife, 15-year-old son, 7-year-old daughter and 18-month old grandson were all killed Oct. 25 when an airstrike hit their home in the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza.

Tragedy struck again last month, when Dahdouh’s eldest son Hamza, 27, who also worked for Al Jazeera, was killed in an Israeli strike in Khan Younis.

Dahdouh is currently in Qatar, where he is receiving medical treatment for injuries he sustained while covering the war in December.

The Israeli military has yet to comment on Abu Omar and Matar's case. Many Israeli social media users are claiming that Abu Omar filmed and praised Hamas’ attack inside a kibbutz in southern Israel during its Oct. 7 assault.

Earlier on Sunday, the Israeli army’s Arabic-language spokesperson, Avichay Adraee, accused an Al Jazeera journalist of being a Hamas member.  

In a post on X, Adraee said Israeli troops found a laptop belonging to Mohamed Washah in a Hamas base in northern Gaza several weeks ago with documents revealing that Wahash is a “prominent commander” in the movement’s anti-tank missile unit.

The Israeli government accuses Al Jazeera of inciting violence and threatened to shut down the network’s offices in Israel.

Israel-Hamas war takes heavy toll on journalists

In a report released on Tuesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said it has documented the death of 85 journalists and media workers — 78 Palestinians, four Israelis and three Lebanese — since Israel launched its offensive on Gaza Oct. 7, marking the “deadliest period for journalists” since the CPJ began recording data in 1992.

“Journalists across the region are making great sacrifices to cover this heartbreaking conflict. Those in Gaza, in particular, have paid and continue to pay an unprecedented toll and face exponential threats. Many have lost colleagues, families and media facilities, and have fled seeking safety,” the CPJ report quoted its Middle East and North Africa program coordinator Sherif Mansour as saying.

Local organizations have put the death toll for journalists killed in Gaza even higher.

The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate revealed Monday that nearly 10% of Gaza’s 1,300 journalists have been killed since Oc. 7, with 120 confirmed dead.

Speaking at a seminar held in Casablanca and organized by the National Union of Moroccan Journalists, syndicate head Nasser Abu Bakr accused Israel of deliberately targeting journalists to “prevent them from conveying the reality of what is happening in Gaza to the world.”

Israel has repeatedly brushed off accusations of systematically targeting journalists, insisting that it does not target civilians.