Journalist wounded while covering protests
Al Jazeera Arabic correspondent Wael al-Dahdouh was injured by shrapnel from an Israeli drone strike while covering protests near the Gaza-Israel border on Friday. He was hit in the leg and taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
The journalist was reporting on the ongoing demonstrations by Palestinians who demand an end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza and the right of return for refugees. The protests, which began in March 2023, have been met with lethal force by the Israeli army, killing more than 300 Palestinians and injuring over 17,000.
Al-Dahdouh, who has been working for Al Jazeera since 2006, said he was wearing a press vest and helmet when he was targeted by the drone. He accused the Israeli forces of deliberately attacking journalists and violating international law.
Al Jazeera condemns attack and demands accountability
Al Jazeera Media Network strongly condemned the attack on its journalist and called for an immediate investigation and accountability. It also expressed its solidarity with al-Dahdouh and wished him a speedy recovery.
Dr Mostefa Souag, acting director general of Al Jazeera Media Network, said the attack was “a clear violation of human rights and a serious breach of international conventions that protect journalists”.
He added that Al Jazeera “will not be deterred by these attacks and will continue to report the truth and expose the crimes committed by the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people”.
International community denounces Israeli aggression
The attack on al-Dahdouh was also denounced by several international organizations and human rights groups, who urged Israel to respect the freedom and safety of the press.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said it was “outraged” by the incident and called on the Israeli authorities to “immediately halt the targeting of journalists”.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said it was “appalled” by the attack and demanded that Israel “stop its deliberate and systematic targeting of journalists and media workers”.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said it was “deeply concerned” by the escalation of violence and the impact on civilians and humanitarian workers. It called on all parties to “exercise maximum restraint and respect international humanitarian law”.
Palestinians vow to continue resistance
Despite the Israeli repression, the Palestinian protesters said they would not give up their struggle for their rights and dignity. They vowed to continue their weekly marches until they achieve their demands.
The Great March of Return is a grassroots movement that aims to draw attention to the plight of the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and siege. It also marks the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, or the catastrophe, when more than 700,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled from their homes during the creation of Israel in 1948.
The protesters said they want to return to their ancestral lands and end the Israeli blockade that has crippled the economy and the health sector of Gaza. They also called for an end to the US-backed Deal of the Century, a peace plan that they say would deny them their rights and sovereignty.