BBC Gaza journalist loses infant son in Israeli strikes

LONDON - The poignant pictures of a grieving BBC journalist carrying the body of his infant son killed in an Israeli attack on Gaza have become the latest face of the West Asian violence, prompting reactions of shock and grief on social media circles.

Omar, the 11-month-old son of Jihad Misharawi, a BBC Arabic journalist based in Gaza, died along with his aunt when a shrapnel hit their house on Thursday.

At least 30 people have been killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza since Wednesday, including six children, as violence escalates following the Israeli killing of Hamas’ military chief.

Heart rending pictures of Misharawi, sobbing over his little son’s body, went viral on the Internet and elicited messages of condolence and grief.

“Shrapnel hit our house. My sister-in-law was killed along with my son. And my brother and my other son were wounded,” Misharawi told BBC.

“What did my son to die like this? What was his mistake? He is 10 or 11 months old, what did he do? We are not the resistance, there are no fighters in my house,” said a distraught Misharawi as he carried his dead son in his arms.

A picture of a smiling Omar was posted on Twitter by BBC Middle East bureau chief Paul Danahar with a message: “This was Jihad’s 11-month-old son Omar who was killed in #Gaza yesterday when a shell came through the roof.’’

Soon after, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted what was seen as a response, tweeting a picture of a baby reportedly injured in a rocket attack in southern Israel with a message: “Hamas deliberately targets our children.’’

The latest round of fighting began after Israel targeted and killed Hamas military chief Ahmed Jaabari in a strike on Wednesday.

Following the strike, Hamas fired rockets across the border into southern Israel, which responded by mobilising 75,000 troops and pounding Gaza with missiles.

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