Deadly strikes hit the Gaza home of a news photographer days after an Israeli media advocacy group questioned his coverage of Hamas’s attack on October 7th, prompting death threats against him on social media.
Yasser Qudih, who survived the strikes on the night of November 13, said four projectiles hit the rear of his house, killing eight family members.
The attack was five days after the November 8 report by Honest Reporting questioning whether Qudih, a freelance photographer, and three other Gaza-based photographers had prior knowledge of the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas.
Reuters strongly denied HonestReporting’s speculation, as did other international news organisations identified in the report.
Qudih had provided photos to Reuters during the October 7 attack by Hamas gunmen although he was not a Reuters staff photographer.
Qudih said he had returned home barely an hour before the strikes on his house which were seconds apart, and without warning, at around 7:50 pm local time.
“Israel attacked my home,” he said.
Asked why, he added: “I don’t know.”
Reuters could not verify who was responsible for the strikes, why Qudih’s home in southern Gaza was targeted or whether the strikes were linked to HonestReporting’s November 8 report.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF), which launched a military offensive in Gaza in response to the October 7 attack, declined to say whether its forces had conducted the strike and, if so, what the target was.
“The IDF is currently focused on eliminating the threat from the terrorist organization Hamas. Questions of this kind will be looked into in a later stage,” it said, in answer to questions from Reuters.
In a statement, Reuters said it was “deeply saddened” to learn of the deaths of Qudih’s family members. It also said HonestReporting made “baseless accusations” against Qudih.
“Thereafter, numerous threats against his safety circulated online. HonestReporting later accepted that its accusations were unfounded,” Reuters said.
“The situation on the ground is dire, and the IDF’s unwillingness to give assurances about the safety of our staff threatens their ability to deliver news about this conflict without fear of being injured or killed.”