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‘No international protection at all.’ Grief and anger erupt on air after another Palestinian journalist is killed in Gaza

A Palestine TV correspondent and 11 members of his family were killed Thursday in southern Gaza, according to the Palestinian Authority-run television network, in what it described as an Israeli airstrike.

Mohammad Abu Hattab had been reporting live on-air Thursday night outside of Nasser hospital in Gaza; thirty minutes later, when he had returned home, the correspondent was killed, his network reported. News agency WAFA also reported his death and that of his family.

Hattab’s death sent shockwaves through his newsroom, with Palestine TV journalist Salman Al Bashir making an emotional on-air report that reduced a television anchor to tears.

“We can’t bear this anymore. We are exhausted, we are here victims and martyrs awaiting our deaths, we are dying one after the other and no one cares about us or the large scale catastrophe and the crime in Gaza,” he said.

“No protection, no international protection at all, no immunity to anything, this protection gear does not protect us and not those helmets,” Al Bashir continued, as he removed his own helmet and protective vest, which had “PRESS” inscribed in bright letters.

“These are just slogans that we are wearing, it doesn’t protect any journalist at all,” he said, his voice cracking.

Al Bashir also said Israel’s weeks-long bombardment of the enclave had become unbearable for Palestinians in Gaza. “Live on air, we lose souls one after the other, without any price, we pass as martyrs, we await our turn one after the other,” he said.

“Our colleague Mohammad Abu Hattab was standing here only 30 minutes ago, and now he left us, along with his wife, his brother, and many members of his family are now victims here inside the hospital.”

Israel’s aerial attacks on the isolated territory, which it says target Hamas militants and infrastructure, have killed at least 9,025 people and injured over 22,000, according to the latest figures released by the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah, drawn from sources in the Hamas-controlled enclave.

The strikes began after Hamas militants rampaged through Israel on October 7, killing more than 1,400 Israelis and capturing over 220 hostages. Israeli warplanes have since hit large residential areas, schools, and hospitals in Gaza, sparking outcry in the region and beyond.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has repeatedly told Gazans to move to the south of the enclave, but that area has also been pummeled with deadly strikes. Humanitarian groups say nowhere is safe to flee in Gaza.

Hattab’s last on-air report was about Israeli airstrikes on neighborhoods in the southern city of Khan Younis and the number of casualties, according to a Palestine TV video.

Israel’s war with Hamas, which controls Gaza, has been the most deadly for journalists in decades, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). At least 33 journalists have been killed since October, the journalist advocacy organization said Thursday, including 28 Palestinians, four Israelis and one Lebanese citizen.

Last week, Al Jazeera’s Gaza bureau chief returned to air less than 24 hours after his family was killed in what the television network said was an Israeli airstrike on Wednesday.

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