Gaza photojournalist and social media influencer Motaz Azaiza joined Al Jazeera’s bureau chief for the Palestinian territory, Wael al-Dahdouh, for a photo in Qatar on Wednesday following the pair’s evacuation.
He posted a picture with Dahdouh writing: “Our smile is a kind of resilience.”
Azaiza, alongside a group of journalist-influencers from Gaza, has amassed a huge social media following during the Israel-Hamas war by combining unflinching coverage with personal stories.
The 24-year-old photojournalist has reached 18.5 million followers on Instagram and a further million on X, formerly Twitter, during more than 100 days of conflict in Gaza.
On Tuesday Azaiza announced on Instagram that he was departing the Palestinian territory — home to 2.4 million — and posted footage of himself boarding a Qatari military aircraft at an airport in Egypt.
“I left Gaza with a broken heart and eyes filled with tears. There was no other option after 108 days of continuous massacres against us,” he later posted on X.
“It’s time to move somewhere else so I can do more work and I pray that I can be a reason to stop this war and help rebuild Gaza again. I’ve arrived, Qatar. Thank you,” the influencer added alongside pictures of Al Jazeera’s Doha studio.
Azaiza has produced content for the UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) and the Paris-based medical charity Medecins du Monde (Doctors of the World).
Dahdouh, whose mourning of his wife and children’s killings in Israeli strikes has been broadcast globally, was evacuated from Gaza to Qatar last week.
At least 83 journalists have been killed since the Israel-Hamas war broke out, according to a tally from the Committee to Protect Journalists.
The war in Gaza began with Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack, which resulted in the deaths of about 1,140 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.
Militants also seized 250 hostages, and Israel says around 132 remain in Gaza. That number includes the bodies of at least 28 dead hostages, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.
In response, Israel has carried out a relentless military offensive that has killed at least 25,700 people in Gaza, about 70 percent of them women and children, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory.