Israeli air raids killed the wife, son, daughter, and two grandchildren of Al Jazeera’s Wael Dahdouh in Gaza. He got the call while covering the news and rushed to the hospital where overflowing morgues meant he had to say goodbye to his loved ones on the floor. We continue our coverage of Gaza this week:
When ‘the voice of Gaza’ lost his family
Wael Dahdouh was live on air when he got the news: an Israeli raid had destroyed the home his family was in. His wife, son, daughter and two grandchildren were dead.
The veteran Al Jazeera correspondent’s family had fled Israeli bombardment in Gaza City to stay with relatives at the Nuseirat refugee camp – an area Israel had deemed was safe to evacuate to.
His daughter, Sham, was seven, and his son Mahmoud, was a senior in high school who wanted to be a journalist like his father.
Al Jazeera Arabic presenter Tamer Almisshal said the killing of Dahdouh’s family members is the deliberate Israeli targeting of Palestinian journalists.
He referred to his colleague as the “voice of Gaza”.
“His voice will go on – that we can guarantee. All our voices will go on, and we’ll continue to cover this assault to get the truth out every day,” said Almisshal.
When Dahdouh bid farewell to his family, they were lying on the floor, with no room elsewhere as the number of dead pile up in hospitals across the strip.
For days now, surgeons in the Gaza Strip have been operating under the glow of their mobile phones, conserving energy so that respirators and other machines keeping patients alive can continue to run.
But now, one by one, the enclave’s hospitals are going dark, with 10 out of 35 now out of service as Israel’s siege on vital supplies, including fuel for generators, approaches its third week.
Doctors are forced to work around the clock as they face a severe shortage of supplies and medicines. Some aid was allowed across the border with Egypt this week, but it’s only a tiny fraction of what’s needed, humanitarian organisations say.
And as access to clean water runs out, the threat of cholera and other water-borne diseases looms large.
But despite Israel’s bombardment of the besieged enclave, there have been small moments to be thankful for.
In the neonatal intensive care unit of al-Shifa Hospital, for example, a premature baby survived an emergency caesarean section performed on his dead mother, Maryam, after an air attack on her home.
Still, with so many people being killed, few are left to mourn the death of women like Maryam, who never saw her baby. In a single night this week, 700 Palestinians were killed, the highest number in a 24-hour period since the conflict began.
Among the dead is Sameh Murad’s wife, who died when an aerial attack targeted a convoy of fleeing civilians.
“She was the love of my life,” Murad told Al Jazeera. “I don’t think I will ever meet someone like her again.”
Meanwhile, survivors of air attacks say they feel as if they are dying each day.
“[Israel] wants us in eternal exile and terrorised till the very end of our lives,” said Abdulrahman, who witnessed an explosion just a few hundred metres away from him and his family.
Places of refuge like churches were also not spared this week, with the territory’s oldest Greek Orthodox church bombed. Neither were journalists.
Hamas released two captives this week, but the group said Israel refused to accept them, a claim the Israeli government dismissed as propaganda.
But amid the relentless terror and trauma of missiles and the siege, a community has come together.
On the pavement outside the Abu Assi family’s home in the southern Gaza town of Bani Suhaila, large pots of food are prepared daily to feed thousands of displaced Palestinians.
“We cannot accept hungry people not being able to find food,” Abu Assi said.
Elsewhere in the region, something different
In Istanbul’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed Zeyrek district stands another notable relic from history: the Cinili Hamam, a 500-year-old Turkish bathhouse from the height of the Ottoman Empire.
Now, after an ambitious 13-year restoration effort, this lost treasure has reopened.
Quote of the Week
“Noor’s tearful voice on the phone from Doha, pleading with us to take photos of her family who were already buried in silence, evoked the words of the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish: ‘Death doesn’t hurt the dead, it only hurts the living.’” | Al Jazeera’s Maram Humaid, writing after she spoke to Noor, a friend whose family of nine was killed in Gaza.