The Foreign Press Association grieves the death of our longtime FPA member Samer Abu Daqqa, a veteran Al Jazeera cameraman in Gaza. He is the first FPA member to be killed in Gaza in the war. We consider this a grave blow to the already limited freedom of the press in Gaza and call on the army for a prompt investigation and explanation.
According to Al Jazeera, Samer was wounded, along with his Al Jazeera colleague Wael Al-Dahdouh who was wounded in his arm and waist, by Israeli drone fire at the Farhana School in Khan Younis, where residents were sheltering amid the fighting.
Wael was able to reach the hospital, but Samer was unable to be transferred for medical care due to the conditions of the fighting in Gaza, Al Jazeera says. The network says he was subjected to continued shelling while he tried to crawl tosafety, and that Samer continued to bleed for several hours until a Palestinian civil defense crew found him dead, the network says.
The FPA repeatedly appealed to the Israeli military, which said it had approved a bulldozer to clear the road for an ambulance to reach Samer, but it appears it took hours for first responders to gain access.
The FPA is alarmed by the military’s silence and calls for an immediate inquiry and explanation as to why it apparently attacked the area and why Samer could not be evacuated in time to be treated and potentially saved. Samer Khalil Salman Abu Daqqa, 45 years old, was a father of four. He was a resident of the town of Abasan al-Kabira near Khan Yunis. He joined Al Jazeera in June 2004, where he worked as a cameraman and an editor.
We extend our condolences to his family and colleagues, and embrace our colleagues in Gaza who are covering the war under dangerous and extreme conditions. We grieve the deaths of all journalists who have been killed in this conflict.