In Gaza war, Reuters journalist welcomes ‘joyful news’ of baby son

GAZA (Reuters) -Reuters journalist Mohammed Salem was filming the aftermath of Israeli bombing in Gaza on Thursday morning, when he received an urgent message: his wife was going into labour at home.

He switched off his camera and rushed to pick her up. He was grateful that she might deliver during the day when Israeli attacks tend to be less frequent, but worried by the prospect of welcoming a baby during the throes of war.

“It is hard to get around during the night, with all of the attacks and ambulances,” said Salem, 39, who is part of a Reuters team in the Palestinian enclave covering Israel’s retaliation to a deadly attack by Hamas militants.

Salem, still wearing a protective flak jacket, picked up his wife, Khawla, and drove in his armoured vehicle to Gaza City’s Al-Sahaba hospital.

She gave birth to a boy, Abdallah, at around 12 p.m.

The conflict was set off by a Hamas rampage through southern Israeli towns this week that killed at least 1,300 people. Israel has responded by launching a powerful bombing campaign that has killed more than 1,500 Palestinians.

Still equipped with his camera, Salem filmed scenes around the hospital. One shows his son, dressed in white, letting out a big cry. Another shows a nurse holding a newborn baby.

“While covering all the pain, on streets and in hospitals, and capturing it through a lens, I received this joyful news,” said Salem, who also has four daughters.

“(It) combines happiness with pain, but then again, such is life and life must go on.”

(Writing by Rami Ayyub, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)