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GAZA STRIP: 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.

Dahdouh told AFP the Israeli army “deliberately” targeted journalists in Gaza, adding it “does not want the press”.

“There was only the Al Jazeera team and the civil defence in the area,” he said.

The Israeli army told AFP it took “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.

Three members of the civil defence force were also killed in the strike and their funerals were held on Saturday, AFP correspondents reported.

Correspondent wounded

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.

The Israeli army said it approved a route for a Palestinian ambulance to access the scene but the medical van chose another route and was blocked.

Number of journalists killed on job in 2023 declines despite Gaza: RSF

More than 60 journalists and media staff have died since the start of the war between Hamas and Israel on October 7, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

On Saturday the Emirati TV channel Al Mashhad said its correspondent Muhammad Baalousha “was injured by an Israeli sniper in the Gaza Strip”, condemning it as an “attack on press freedom”.

The channel said in a statement that it was trying “to evacuate its correspondent” after he sustained the gunshot wound.

The war began after Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7 that killed around 1,140 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli figures.

Vowing to destroy Hamas and bring home an estimated 250 hostages abducted by Hamas group to Gaza, Israel launched a massive offensive that has left much of the besieged territory in ruins.

The health ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip says the war has killed at least 18,800 people, mostly women and children in the Palestinian territory.

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