Funeral held for Al Jazeera journalist killed in Israel strike
Dozens of journalists took part in a funeral on Saturday for an Al Jazeera cameraman killed in an Israeli strike in the south of the war-torn Gaza Strip.
Samer Abu Daqqa's body, bearing his bullet-proof vest and helmet, was carried through a crowd in the city of Khan Yunis before being buried in a grave dug by fellow journalists.
His mother Umm Maher Abu Daqqa accused Israel of targeting journalists, "especially those working for Al Jazeera".
Abu Daqqa, born in 1978, was reporting from a school in Khan Yunis when he was hit by a drone strike on Friday, said the Qatar-based Al Jazeera television network.
His colleague, Gaza bureau chief Wael al-Dahdouh, was wounded in the same attack. Dahdouh had lost his wife and two children in a separate Israeli strike in the initial weeks of the war.
The Israeli army told news agency AFP it takes "operationally feasible measures" to protect both civilians and journalists in Gaza.
"Given the ongoing exchanges of fire, remaining in an active combat zone has inherent risks," it said.
Dahdouh said the Israeli army "deliberately" targets journalists in Gaza.
"The occupation does not want the press. It deliberately targeted us," he told AFP.
"There was only the Al Jazeera team and the civil defence in the area."
Al Jazeera’s Samer Abu Daqqa has been buried in Gaza, hours after he was killed by an Israeli drone strike.— AJ+ (@ajplus) December 16, 2023
Al Jazeera bureau chief Wael Al Dahdouh was also injured by the strike – he paid tribute to Samer at the funeral. pic.twitter.com/2oIUMAf5k8
Three members of the civil defence force were also killed in the strike and their funerals were held on Saturday, AFP correspondents reported.
On Friday, Al Jazeera said it held "Israel accountable for systematically targeting and killing Al Jazeera journalists and their families".
"Following Samer's injury, he was left to bleed to death for over five hours, as Israeli forces prevented ambulances and rescue workers from reaching him, denying the much-needed emergency treatment," it said in a statement.
More than 60 journalists and media staff have died since the start of Israel's war on Gaza, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
The war began after Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7 that killed around 1,140 people, according to Israeli figures.
Israel launched a massive offensive that has left much of the besieged territory in ruins.
The Palestinian health ministry in the Gaza Strip says the war has killed at least 18,800 people, mostly women and children in the Palestinian territory.