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5:00 p.m. ET, December 1, 2023

Palestinian journalist killed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, says Turkish news agency

Montaser Al-Sawaf was a freelance cameraman based in the Gaza strip.

Enes Cenli/Anadolu News Agency
A freelance journalist working for Turkish news agency Anadolu was killed in Gaza on Friday, as Israeli airstrikes resumed after a one-week pause, the Anadolu News Agency told CNN.
Montaser Al-Sawaf was a freelance cameraman based in the Gaza Strip and had recently recovered from injuries sustained from another Israeli airstrike in November before the start of the temporary truce between Israel and Hamas.

Enes Canli, Anadolu’s bureau chief in Jerusalem, told CNN that Al-Sawaf had lost both his parents and other family members in a previous airstrike.

“He’d lost his father and brothers in a recent attack. He got injured very badly with bruises on his face, one eye closed. We got scared he was going to lose his eye. But he recovered quickly. He wanted to stay in Gaza City and was traveling north during the Israeli army’s invasion,” Canli said. 

The journalist sustained more serious injuries Friday and had to wait for an ambulance for about half an hour before he was transported to the Al-Ahli Baptist hospital, where he later died, the bureau chief said.

Canli remembered Al-Sawaf as a quiet and brave man, calling him “a really gentle soul. He was a calm person and hardworking, always over-delivering and over-delivering, even if you don’t ask him.” 

He leaves behind two young children, he added.

“I spoke to him two or three days ago and he was the one motivating me, I was upset with everything, and he was the one trying to motivate me.”

According to Canli, Al-Sawaf wanted to stay in the city center, considering it a “personal case” to tell the world about the conditions in Gaza and “not just journalism.”  

In one of his most recent posts on Instagram, Al-Sawaf posted a picture of his bloodied and injured face, with one eye completely shut.

“Our house was hit by an airstrike, more than 45 people died including my mother, my father, my two brothers and all their children,” he wrote. “I was injured in the face, there are no doctors to treat me since I am in Gaza and there are no [functioning] hospitals or doctors. We will continue our coverage despite everything.”

Some context: Israel’s war with Hamas, which controls Gaza, has been the deadliest for journalists in decades, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. At least 57 journalists have been killed since October, the journalist advocacy organization said on November 25, including 50 Palestinian, four Israeli, and three Lebanese journalists.
In November, Palestine TV correspondent Mohammad Abu Hattab was killed along with 11 members of his family. Palestine TV said he was killed by an Israeli airstrike, while Israeli authorities said their forces were not operating in the area.

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