Salman Al Bashir, a journalist for Palestine TV, gave a heart-breaking on-air report after news broke that his fellow correspondent, Mohammad Abu Hatab, was killed on Thursday along with 11 members of his family in southern Gaza in what the Palestinian Authority-run network deemed an Israeli airstrike.
Abu Hatab, 49, had been reporting from outside Nasser Hospital on Thursday about Israeli airstrikes on neighborhoods in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis. He was killed just half an hour later when he returned home, according to his network.
Abu Hatab’s colleagues said he had a gentle personality and brought homemade hummus to journalists reporting outside the hospital, according to the Associated Press.
Nasser Abu Bakr, the head of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, stated, “He was live on air the whole time covering Khan Younis, his city, his people, simple people.”
The AP said that the source of the explosion at the residence remains unclear. When questioned on the strike, Israeli military spokesperson Lt. Col. Richard Hecht said he was “not aware of reports” of Abu Hatab’s death.
In front of the same hospital, Al Bashir grieved the death of his colleague, saying, “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.”
As the in-studio anchor on the split screen was moved to tears, he continued. “No protection, no international protection at all, no immunity to anything, this protection gear does not protect us and not those helmets,” he said as he stripped off his helmet and flak jacket, which contained the label “PRESS.”
Al Bashir also grew emotional, his voice cracking as he said, “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.”
His words spread quickly across social media with many resonating with the journalist’s anguish. Palestinian UN Ambassador Majed Bamya’s post on X, formerly Twitter, about the on-air report has received 4.6 million views as of Friday afternoon.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based watchdog, at least 33 reporters and media workers have been killed since October, including 28 Palestinians.