The funeral of Samer Abudaqa, the Al Jazeera cameraman who was killed by an Israeli airstrike while reporting in southern Gaza on Friday Dec. 15, has been held in Khan Younis.
45-year-old Abudaqa had been reporting on an airstrike on a UN-run school with Al Jazeera Arabic’s bureau chief in Gaza, Wael Dahdouh, when they were both injured by an Israeli missile launched from a drone.
Dahdouh, whose wife and children were already killed by Israeli strikes at the beginning of the war, was hit by shrapnel on his arm but managed to reach an ambulance to call for help.
Speaking from hospital, Dahdouh told Al Jazeera that Abudaqa had been injured on the lower part of his body but medical teams told him they could not return to the site as it was too dangerous and would send another ambulance.
However, medical staff were unable to reach Abudaqa for hours due to the Israeli military continuing to fire on the school.
Dahdouh said an ambulance attempting to reach Abudaqa also came under fire.
When rescuers reached Abudaqa five hours later, he had bled to death, Al Jazeera reported.
The funerals for Abudaqa and the rescuers were held on Saturday Dec. 16, with a video showing Dahdouh bidding an emotional farewell to Abudaqa going viral.
“We are carrying this human message, we are carrying this noble message,” Dahdouh said in his eulogy. “We will continue to do our duty with professionalism and transparency.”
Dahdouh returned to work the next day and recounted the incident to Al Jazeera, saying that by the time Abudaqa had arrived at the hospital, his condition was “very critical and very difficult, and the injury was severe.”
“There was severe tearing in the lower half of the body, and the internal organs as well,” Dahdouh said. “Some fragments of the camera he was carrying got stuck to his body and his legs, such as the sound unit and the camera itself, seemed to have engulfed the body of Samer Abudaqa.”
Al Jazeera said on Saturday that it is referring Abudaqa’s killing to the International Criminal Court in the Hague as it is illegal to target journalists under international law.
“Al Jazeera Media Network reiterates its denunciation and condemnation of the assassination crime of its colleague, Samer Abudaqa, who devoted 19 years with the Network to covering the ongoing conflict in the occupied Palestinian territories,” the network said in a statement.
“In addition to the assassination of Abudaqa by the Israeli occupation forces in the Gaza Strip, the legal file will also encompass recurrent attacks on the Network’s crews working and operating in the occupied Palestinian territories and instances of incitement against them.”
Al Jazeera has already submitted a formal request to the ICC to investigate the death of its journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed by Israeli forces in May 2022 while reporting on an Israeli military raid on Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.
The ICC has acknowledged it has received the request and documents but has not yet provided an update.