At dawn on May 19, 2021, an Israeli warplane bombed the top floors of the Gaza City apartment building where Yousef Abu Hussein, a Palestinian reporter and news anchor for the Hamas-affiliated radio station Voice of Al-Aqsa, lived, killing the journalist, according to news reports, the journalist’s employer, and statements by the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate and the MADA press freedom organization.
Previously, on May 12, Israeli warplanes bombed and destroyed the Al-Shorouk building in Gaza City, which housed a number of media outlets including Voice of Al-Aqsa Radio, as CPJ documented at the time. The station continued broadcasting following the destruction of its office.
Footage posted on Facebook by Qatari-funded broadcaster Al-Araby TV and reviewed by CPJ at the time shows that the two upper floors of Abu Hussein’s building, in Gaza City’s Sheikh Radwan neighborhood, were destroyed in the attack. The rest of the building does not appear to be significantly damaged. The post appears to have been deleted.
In an interview with Al-Araby TV, a relative of Abu Hussein whose name was not disclosed said, “This is a residential building. Only families live here,” and added that the building’s residents had received no notice of the impending attack.
The relative said, “The Israelis know he [Abu Hussein] is a journalist and I believe they target journalists so that we don’t have media.” The Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate statement and a tweet by Voice of Al-Aqsa also accused Israel of having “targeted” the journalist.
Abu Hussein’s recent work for Voice of Al-Aqsa included presenting news bulletins and interviewing the spokesperson for the Gaza Judicial Authority and the director of the traffic police. On May 16, Abu Hussein published his last post on Facebook, where he frequently shared his reporting and had about 1,000 followers; the post includes pictures of the destruction from Israeli airstrikes and efforts to rescue people from under rubble.
Abu Hussein’s colleague, Ahmed Zoghbar, told the independent Quds News Network that the journalist was scheduled to present his “It Happened on This Day” radio news program on the day he was killed. The network’s post appears to have been deleted from Facebook.
Abu Hussein worked at Voice of Al-Aqsa for 12 years, according to those news reports; his employer wrote on Twitter that he was buried on the day he died.
In April 2023, the IDF told CPJ in an email that the journalist’s death was examined in a preliminary probe called a “fact-finding assessment” and that “It was found that the strike targeted a legitimate military target, was approved by the relevant officials, and was in accordance with the principle of proportionality.”
This report was updated on April 25, 2023.