CNN’s Clarissa Ward is the first journalist from a Western TV news outlet to independently report from inside southern Gaza and cover what’s transpiring as the Israeli military tries to eradicate the militant group Hamas.
Ward and her crew have been documenting the toll the ongoing war has taken on civilians: “In the streets strewn with trash and rubble from destroyed buildings, we see the horror of modern warfare. Despite the heavy bombardment, people wander around outside like zombies – perhaps trying to fathom their lives, perhaps with nothing else to do,” she reports.
The normally stoic Ward nearly burst into tears while interviewing an eight-year-old girl at Emirati field hospital. The child, named Jinan Sahar Mughari, had been injured by an Israeli airstrike. She was unable to move, wearing a full body cast as she recounted the bombing to Ward.
“They bombed the house in front of us and then our home,” Mughari told Ward. “I was sitting next to my grandfather, and my grandfather held me, and my uncle was fine, so he was the one who took us out.”
Ward then tells the child “don’t cry” as the journalist herself tries not to cry.
Ward later details another moving encounter she had with a now-orphaned 20-month-old named Amir Taha, whose parents and two of his siblings were killed in an Israeli strike. Taha, who is now under the care of his aunt Nehaia Al-Qadra, was discovered in his mother’s arms while they lay in the street.
Al-Qadra said, “His sister died, his brother died, his uncle and his other sister is injured in the hospital… Here we are, he doesn’t have a mother or a father or an older sister or brother. Now it’s just us two and God.”
Amir wants his father. “Yesterday, he saw a nurse that looked like his dad, and he kept screaming, ‘Dad! Dad! Dad!’” Al-Qadra said. To calm him down, she shows videos of his father.
CNN says that both Israel and Egypt have made it difficult for international journalists to report on the war from inside Gaza independently. CNN and other U.S. media outlets have previously had access to Gaza but as embeds of the Israeli military.
Ward and her crew visited local hospitals, overwhelmed with patients and working with inadequate facilities.
Dr. Abdallah Al-Naqbi, a doctor with UAE Field Hospital, told CNN that they and their staff have gotten used to the air strikes and continue to tend to their patients in wards, intensive care units, and operating rooms.
“That’s real life,” said Al-Naqbi, adding that they hear at least 20 strikes a day. “I think we got used to it.”
Watch Ward’s report below.
Scores of Palestinian journalists have been documenting the horrors suffered in Gaza, and many of them have lost their lives doing so. Now @CNN’s @clarissaward, @scottycnn and @BrentSwailsCNN managed to enter without Israeli military escort. Watch their extraordinary report. pic.twitter.com/JLioOfXf12
— Christiane Amanpour (@amanpour) December 14, 2023
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