Hamad, a Palestinian cameraman, was killed in the Gaza City neighborhood of Shijaiyah, according to news reports and the journalist’s colleague. More than 60 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers were killed in clashes between Israeli and Hamas forces in Shijaiyah that day, according to news reports.
Hamad was working on a film for the local Continue Production Films about the dangers Palestinian medics face while working in Gaza, the company’s owner, Alaa Alool, told CPJ. Hamad was accompanying an ambulance in Shijaiyah when the vehicle was hit by a shell fired by Israeli forces, Alool said. A second shell hit, killing the journalist and Fouad Jaber, a Palestinian medic, Alool said.
At the time of the shelling, Alool was at an ambulance station when he heard over the radio that Hamad had been hit. Alool said he waited at a local hospital for four hours until he received confirmation that Hamad had been killed. News reports said that the violence in Shijaiyah was so intense and the number of casualties so high that ambulances were unable to transport the wounded.
Graphic pictures on social media showed Hamad in the hospital, wearing a flak jacket clearly marked as press, with his camera resting on his body.
The Israel Defense Forces did not immediately respond to CPJ’s request for comment on Hamad’s death. But IDF spokesman Lt. Col Peter Lerner said at a July 22 press conference in response to CPJ’s question about the recent death and injury of journalists and media workers in Gaza that “we do not target journalists […] but journalists do sometimes put themselves in risky positions.” He continued, “We have to do our best to facilitate and keep them out of harm’s way.” The IDF’s Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz, speaking to media on July 20 about the operation in Shijaiyah, said he regrets civilian casualties and that Israel takes measures to uphold its “moral obligation” to prevent them. He also blamed Hamas for hiding behind civilians.
The final report of the U.N. Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict, published in June 2015, said that IDF’s operation in the Shijaiyah neighborhood on July 19 and 20, including the shelling that killed Hamad, “raise questions as to the respect by the IDF of the rules of distinction, precautions, and proportionality […] and may amount to a war crime.”
Hamad was married in April 2014. His wife was expecting a child at the time of his death, according to posts on his wife’s Facebook page.