The story behind the photo: Journalist’s 11-month-old son killed in Gaza strikes

November 15, 2012

BBC journalist Jihad Masharawi carries his son's body at a Gaza hospital. (Associated Press)

The front page photo on Thursday's Washington Post tells, in a single frame, a very personal story from Wednesday's Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. Jihad Misharawi, a BBC Arabic journalist who lives in Gaza, carries the body of his 11-month old son, Omar, through al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City.


Omar Misharawi (Jihad Misharawi, via Paul Danahar)

An Israeli round hit Misharawi's four-room home in Gaza Wednesday, killing his son, according to BBC Middle East bureau chief Paul Danahar, who arrived in Gaza earlier Thursday. (Update: A United Nations draft report finds that Omar Mishrawi may actually have been killed by a Hamas rocket.) Misharawi's sister-in-law was also killed, and his brother wounded. Misharawi told Danahar that, when the round landed, there was no fighting in his residential neighborhood.

"We're all one team in Gaza," Danahar told me, saying that Misharawi is a BBC video and photo editor. After spending a "few hours" with his grieving colleague, he wrote on Twitter, "Questioned asked here is: if Israel can kill a man riding on a moving motorbike (as they did last month) how did Jihad's son get killed."

Danahar also shared the following photos of Misharawi's small Gaza home, which appears to have been heavily damaged. The place where the round punctured his ceiling is clearly visible.


Jihad Misharawi's home. (Paul Danahar/BBC)

 


Jihad Misharawi's home. (Paul Danahar/BBC)

BBC World editor Jon Williams sent a memo about the young child's death to colleagues, according to The Telegraph:

Our thoughts are with Jihad and the rest of the team in Gaza.

This is a particularly difficult moment for the whole bureau in Gaza.

We're fortunate to have such a committed and courageous team there. It's a sobering reminder of the challenges facing many of our colleagues.

Reuters also had a photographer at the Gaza City hospital where Misharawi took his son. The story that these photos tell, of loss and confusion, may help inform the Palestinian reactions – and, as the photos continue to spread widely on social media, perhaps the reactions from beyond the Palestinian territories – to the violence between Israel and Gaza.


Jihad Masharawi mourns his son's death in Gaza. (Mohammed Salem -- Reuters)
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Max Fisher · November 15, 2012