(JNS) The Israel Defense Forces on Wednesday presented evidence that two Palestinian journalists killed in Gaza in an Israeli airstrike on Sunday were terrorist operatives, and said that they were operating drones that put soldiers at risk.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, during his Middle Eastern diplomatic swing, called the deaths of Hamza Wael Dahdouh, the son of the son of Al Jazeera’s Gaza correspondent Wael Al-Dahdouh, and Mustafa Thuria an “unimaginable tragedy.” The statement came after Al Jazeera reported that two of its employees were killed in the strike on a vehicle in the Rafah area. The Qatari state media accused Jerusalem of deliberately targeting the freelance journalists.
However, a document that the IDF posted to social media appears to prove that Thuria was a Hamas operative. The document lists him as a deputy squad commander in a battalion of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the terror group's "military wing."
ברשתות התקשורת הפלסטיניות השונות דווח בימים האחרונים כי במהלך תקיפה שבוצעה מוקדם יותר השבוע באיזור רפיח נהרגו שני עיתונאים בשם חמזה אלדחדוח ומצטפא ת׳ריא >> pic.twitter.com/zBh6Vvm1u8— צבא ההגנה לישראל (@idfonline) January 10, 2024
Other documents found by the IDF indicate that Dadough was a Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative whose speciality is electronic engineering and who previously served as a deputy commander of a platoon in the Zaytoun Battalion. Before his death, he was in charge of a section of PIJ's rocket unit.
Additionally, Israel said that Dadough had carried out terrorist attacks against Israel.
"Before the attack, the two operated drones in a manner that created a real threat to our forces, who directed ... aircraft to attack the terrorists who were responsible for operating them," the IDF said.
The IDF initially said on Sunday that it “struck a terrorist who operated an aircraft that posed a threat to IDF troops."