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Young Palestinian journalists and digital creators document Israel's killings on Gaza’s front lines

Twenty-five year old journalist and filmmaker Bisan Owda provides updates from Gaza.
Twenty-five year old journalist and filmmaker Bisan Owda provides updates from Gaza.

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Some of Gaza’s youngest journalists and digital creators have been documenting the deadly Israeli response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attack that killed 1,200 people in Israel. The death toll in Gaza since Israel declared war on Hamas is now over 12,000 — the majority are women and children.

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said Gaza is becoming “a graveyard for children.”

Some of Gaza’s youngest reporters range from ages 17 to 25. They have millions of followers on Instagram, and they make their videos in Arabic and English so people from around the world can understand their messages.

Photographer Motaz Azaizais 24 years old. Journalist Plestia Alaqad is 22. They can be seen in a few videos together talking about the Israeli forces.

Plestia and Motaz making a video about Israel's announcement that they have to head to south Gaza
Plestia Alaqad and Motaz Azaiza making a video about Israel's announcement that they have to head to south Gaza.

“So the Israeli occupation forces just announced that Gaza people — 1.1 million — have to leave to the south of the strip. They want Gaza to be empty, to destroy it more. A literal ghost town,” they both said.

Their social media accounts — primarily Instagram — are filled with videos of dead bodies, bombings, and scavenging through destruction.

There are countless images of destroyed buildings. Some of the items seen among the wreckage are backpacks, flowers and mattresses.


Motaz Azaiza documenting the aftermath of an Israeli air strike.

Bisan Owda is a 25-year-old journalist and filmmaker in Gaza. She starts her videos on social media with a variation of the phrase “I’m still alive.”

In some of her videos, Owda manages to keep her composure as she delivers horrific updates. Other times, like when Israeli forces bombed the front of a hospital, she provides her updates as she’s sobbing.

“It’s a massacre. Thousands of people are out. Thousands. I’ve been there just before two minutes. It could be me,” she said.

Everyday life in Gaza includes waiting in long lines to use the bathroom, hearing loud explosions throughout the day, and finding or making bread to avoid starving to death.

“The bread is very old because there’s no bakeries here open since three days,” said Owda in a video.

Other videos show devastated family members and friends screaming as they hold the deceased bodies of their loved ones. At times, the deceased women and children are missing limbs or their faces are disfigured.

When these young reporters go silent on their social media, their comments are flooded by concerned people from all around the world.

They say things like, ““Bisan, please be okay,” and "Plestia, are you still alive?”

The conflict between Israel and Palestinians — and other groups in the Middle East — goes back decades. These stories provide context for current developments and the history that led up to them.

Yara Eid is a Palestinian war journalist based in London. She talked toAl Jazeera English about what’s happening in Gaza.

“More than 70% of all the people who have been killed are children and women. What’s happening is a clear violation of international law,” Eid said.

Before Oct. 7, the social media accounts of these young journalists showed healthier versions of them. There were less, but not zero, depictions of violence and retaliation from the Israel Defense Forces.

Every day, people from around the world check their accounts for updates and hope they are still alive.

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