The wife, daughter, son and grandson of Al Jazeera Arabic’s Gaza bureau chief were killed in an Israeli air strike on Wednesday.
Wael al-Dahdouh, considered by many across the Arab world to be the face of Al Jazeera’s Gaza coverage, received the news while on air covering a different Israeli attack elsewhere in Gaza.
The veteran journalist was seen in footage published online tearfully saying his goodbyes to his son, Mahmoud, after his body arrived at the hospital.
“You wanted to be a journalist,” Dahdouh said while kneeling on the floor next to Mahmoud’s dead body.
“They take revenge on us with our children?” he added, referring to the Israeli army. “It’s okay. To God we belong and to him we return.”
He later said his tears were not out of “fear or cowardice” but rather of humanity.
“This is the occupation’s policy, and this is our destiny and our choice, and we will not deviate,” Dahdouh told Al Jazeera.
In addition to Mahmoud, Dahdouh’s daughter Sham, his wife Umm Hamza and several others were killed in the strike. Dozens of others were wounded, including other members of the reporter’s family.
The family had been sheltering in a relative’s home in southern Gaza when they were hit.
Al Jazeera’s coverage of the relentless Israeli assault on Palestinians in Gaza has drawn the ire of many Israeli officials who are seeking its closure.
Earlier this week, the Israeli government approved “emergency regulations” that would shutter broadcasters deemed to be acting against the “security of the state”.
Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi said earlier that the emergency legislation was aimed at closing Al Jazeera.
Before the ban on the Qatari-based international news channel is enacted, it will need approval from Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, who is expected to sign the regulation.
Translation: Al Jazeera correspondent Wael al-Dahdouh from inside the hospital after members of his family, including his wife, son, and daughter, were martyred in an Israeli bombing in Gaza.
Al Jazeera is the biggest Arabic language news outlet providing televised and online updates on the situation in Gaza, within Israel and in other occupied Palestinian territories.
It is one of the few global media channels that has a physical presence in Gaza and Israel, which has barred anyone from leaving or entering the coastal enclave that is now under complete siege with no electricity, fuel and other supplies allowed to enter.
International coverage of the Israeli bombardment, therefore, has fallen to media organisations already on the ground, such as Al Jazeera.
The shelling has so far killed more than 6,500 Palestinians with more than 1,500 missing and presumed trapped under rubble with no means of resucing them, according to the health ministry. More than 70 percent of those killed are children, women and elderly people.
The bombing campaign has killed dozens of journalists, doctors, first responders, writers, artists, and footballers – among others.
The violence erupted on 7 October after Hamas led a Palestinian attack into southern Israel. According to Israeli officials, around 1,400 people were killed in Israel during the assault, the majority of them believed to be civilians. At least another 220 people have been taken as prisoners in Gaza, including soldiers and civilians.
Al Jazeera has a frosty relationship with Israel despite being one of the first in the region to interview Israeli figures on-air.
In 2022, Palestinian-American Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot dead by an Israeli soldier while reporting in Jenin.
The network most recently condemned Israel for a missile attack in Lebanon on a group of journalists, which included its own reporters.
“Israel has once again attempted to silence the media by targeting journalists, as Israeli forces fired a guided missile at Al Jazeera crew in southern Lebanon, wounding two and killing a Reuters journalist,” the network said in a statement.