Anas Al-Sharif
An image of journalist Anas Al-Sharif from an Al-Jazeera report in which he describes the December 11, 2023, killing of his 90-year-old father in Gaza. (Screenshot: Al-Jazeera English/YouTube)

Father of Al-Jazeera’s Anas Al-Sharif killed in Gaza after journalist receives threats

Washington, D.C., December 11, 2023—The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply saddened by the killing of the father of Anas Al-Sharif, a reporter and videographer for Al-Jazeera Arabic in northern Gaza, and reiterates its call for the protection of journalists in Gaza and their family members.

On Monday, an Israeli airstrike hit Al-Sharif’s family home in the Jabalia refugee camp, killing the journalist’s 90-year-old father, according to Al-Jazeera, and Middle East Eye.

On November 22, Al-Sharif had reported receiving threats from Israeli military officers via phone, according to Al-Jazeera. The journalist told Al-Jazeera that he had received multiple phone calls from officers in the Israeli army instructing him to cease coverage and leave northern Gaza. Additionally, he received voice notes on WhatsApp disclosing his location.

“CPJ is deeply alarmed by the pattern of journalists in Gaza reporting receiving threats, and subsequently, their family members being killed,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour. “The killing of the family members of journalists in Gaza is making it almost impossible for the journalists to continue reporting, as the risk now extends beyond them also to include their beloved ones.”

Also on Monday, several members of the family of Diaa Al-Kahlout, a Gaza correspondent for Al-Araby Al-Jadeed who was arrested on December 7, were injured or killed by an Israeli strike in Beit Lahya, in northern Gaza, according to a report by Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, a Qatari-funded London-based pan-Arab newspaper. 

The previous week, at least three journalists lost a number of family members due to Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip:

  • On December 3, Ibrahim Dahman, a CNN producer in Gaza who has escaped to Egypt, reported that an Israeli strike had directly hit the building where his relatives were living in Beit Lahia, killing an uncle and his wife, daughter, and two grandchildren, as well as an aunt, her husband, and two children, according to CNN.
  • On December 7, several family members of journalist Abdelhamid Abdelati, the chairman of the Al-Mowaten website and the program host on Al-Watan Radio, were killed in an Israeli airstrike in the Nuseirat camp in central Gaza, according to the Beirut-based press freedom group SKeyes and AlHadath TV.
  • The day before, 22 family members of Moamen Al Sharafi, a correspondent for Al-Jazeera Arabic, were killed by an Israeli airstrike on their house in the Jabalia refugee camp, according to Al-Jazeera and The New Arab.

Previously, on November 13, eight family members of photojournalist Yasser Qudih were killed when their house in southern Gaza was struck by four missiles, according to Reuters news agency and The Guardian. Qudih survived the attack.

The incident occurred five days after a November 8 report by HonestReporting—a group that monitors what it describes as “ideological prejudice” in media coverage of Israel—raised questions about Qudih and three other Gaza-based photographers having prior knowledge of Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel. Major media outlets, including Reuters, rejected the claims. HonestReporting subsequently withdrew the accusations, but its report prompted the Israeli prime minister’s office to tweet that the photographers were accomplices in “crimes against humanity,” and Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz to say they should be treated as terrorists.

On October 25, Wael Al Dahdouh, Al-Jazeera’s bureau chief for Gaza, lost his wife, son, daughter, and grandson when an Israeli airstrike hit the Nuseirat refugee camp, according to a statement from Al-Jazeera and Politico.

CPJ’s email requesting comment from the North America Desk of the Israel Defense Forces did not immediately receive a response.