CNN reporter sees 'horror of modern warfare' from inside Gaza

CNN reporter sees 'horror of modern warfare' from inside Gaza
CNN’s Clarissa Ward became the first foreign journalist to enter Gaza without being embedded to Israeli forces.
4 min read
15 December, 2023
International Correspondent, CNN, Clarissa Ward attending the 23 Concordia Annual Summit in New York [Getty]

CNN’s chief correspondent Clarissa Ward became the first Western journalist to independently report on Israel’s war on Gaza, visiting a UAE-operated field hospital in southern Gaza. 

Since the start of Israel's war on Gaza on 7 October, the only way for international journalists to report from the embattled territory is to be embedded with Israeli forces, with footage reviewed by the military before it airs.

In a six-minute video report, Ward described conditions in Gaza as the worst she has seen in the enclave in her 20 years as a reporter. 

"In the streets strewn with trash and rubble from destroyed buildings, we see the horror of modern warfare. Despite the heavy bombardment, people wander around outside like zombies – perhaps trying to fathom their lives, perhaps with nothing else to do," the CNN journalist narrated in the video. 

At the UAE field hospital, she witnessed medical staff overwhelmed with patients and working with inadequate supplies and facilities. 

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Dr. Abdallah Al-Naqbi, told Ward that he and his staff have grown accustomed to the sounds of air strikes as they treat patients. 

"That’s real life," Al-Naqbi said, adding that medics hear at least 20 strikes a day. "I think we got used to it."

However, another doctor described the devastating impact of treating injured children. 

"I work with all the people…but the children, it's something that changes your heart," Dr. Ahmed Al Mazrouei told CNN upon seeing an injured child patient. 

Ward was visibly overwhelmed with emotion as she interviewed a young girl - severely wounded in an Israeli airstrike - from her bedside.

Eight-year-old Jinan Sahar Mughari was unable to move due to her full-body cast but bravely spoke to the reporter about her experiences. 

"They bombed the house in front of us and then our home," Mughari told Ward. "I was sitting next to my grandfather, and my grandfather held me, and my uncle was fine, so he was the one who took us out."

Ward then tried to comfort the child, telling her "don’t cry", as Jinan and her mother, Hiba, were moved to tears.

Ward’s recent report has received praise from her fellow CNN colleagues such as veteran journalist Christiane Amanpour and news anchor Omar Jimenez. 

"Incredible reporting from Clarissa Ward, showing the reality inside of Gaza. Worth a watch if you get a moment. There are also journalists inside Gaza that have been continuously reporting on what’s happening there, many have died in the process," Jimenez wrote in a post on X. 

Some activists, bloggers, and journalists criticised the attention Ward received for her report, saying the efforts of Palestinian journalists and aid workers inside Gaza should receive equal coverage.

"Screw the western media for piling praise on Clarissa Ward for bare minimum journalism while emboldening Israel in their journalist killing spree with their absolute silence on the death of 87 journalists. This is the second attempt on Wael Dahdouh's life," Substack writer Sarayu Pani tweeted.

Pani also shared a video of Al Jazeera journalist Wael al-Dahdouh who suffered an injury during Thursday's Israeli air strike in Khan Younis. 

"Clarissa Explains It All was once my favorite show on Nickelodeon growing up," journalist Ahmed Eldin wrote in an X post

"Sixty-eight days into Israel’s unfolding genocide in Gaza, Clarissa Ward managed to briefly get inside to see for herself the obscene level of Israel’s oppression, destruction and crimes against humanity."

Ward had been previously embroiled in controversy, following accusations that she fabricated a live report in October- that saw her take cover in a ditch due to a barrage of strikes. 

The CNN journalist was later confronted by Egyptian podcaster Rahma Zein, who were both filmed in a video clip that went viral on social media. 

Zein shared her concerns with Ward about the Western media’s 'heavily biased' coverage of Israel’s war on Gaza and its double standards on human rights issues.  

Ward's recent report on Gaza was also criticised for misquoting the UN's statistics on Gaza casualties.

The UN has said that two-thirds of Gazans killed in the Israeli strikes are women and children. In her report, Ward said that two-thirds of Palestinians killed are civilians, wrongly implying that the remaining dead are fighters.