NHK reporters in the Gaza Strip detail ongoing horrors

NHK Producer Mohammed Shehada and Cameraman Salam Abu Tahoun recently described the situation on the ground in the Gaza Strip to their colleagues in Tokyo. Relentless Israeli airstrikes are robbing innocent people of their lives and displacing many more. The two reporters say war crimes are occurring right under the nose of the global community.

"There is no safe place in the Gaza Strip," said Shehada on October 10. "I don't know where to hide."

Israeli forces launched their bombing campaign in response to a surprise attack on October 7 by the Palestinian militant group Hamas, whose fighters also seized scores of hostages.

People walk through a devastated part of the Gaza Strip on October 10.

As of October 16, the escalation has killed more than 4,000 people. The death toll exceeds 1,400 in Israel, and 2,750 in the Gaza Strip. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees says at least one million have been internally displaced so far.

Shehada says things took a serious turn for the worse on October 9. He and Abu Tahoun had just returned to their office after filming at a hospital.

"There were some airstrikes at a refugee camp. At least 50 civilians were killed. We weren't able to reach the area, but we stayed in a hospital for three hours filming injured people, including children.

Civilians evacuate near Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip on October 7.

"When we headed back to the office to edit our footage, I noticed that an Israeli spokesperson had threatened our neighborhood, Ramal.

"From our 11th-floor office, we saw families rushing from their houses. And so we grabbed our most important equipment ― cameras, bulletproof vests, and a laptop."

Mohammed Shehada, left, and Salam Abu Tahoun. Shehada's father and sister are also journalists. Abu Tahoun learnt about visual reporting from Shehada's father.

Shehada and Abu Tahoun have both been at NHK for more than 10 years.

The pair continue to report their findings to NHK's headquarters in Tokyo despite the increasing danger. At one point, they say a massive air strike forced them to take cover behind a staircase.

Footage by Abu Tahoun shows Shehada and his family evacuating on October 10.

The violence has already caused immense upheaval for Shehada and his family, who have evacuated several times.

On October 10, Abu Tahoun filmed Shehada running down the stairs carrying his little daughter. They repeatedly called out, "Let's go." The family eventually arrived at a new site, where Shehada hugged his two children.

Schools in the firing line

Running, though, doesn't bring any respite. Israeli forces tell people in the Gaza Strip to find somewhere safe, "but the only shelters we can use are schools, and they are also being targeted," says Shehada. "The feelings of the people here cannot be conveyed by words or footage."

He goes on to say that the attacks come every 30 to 45 minutes, and that the people he has spoken to have found it impossible to sleep.

Electricity and water supplies in the Gaza Strip hang on a knife edge. Shehada says it will be impossible to pump any groundwater without power, adding that many people fear they may lose internet access at any moment.

Shehada and Abu Tahoun send footage to Tokyo.

Israel and Palestine have been engaged in a struggle for decades, and the latest flare-up is one of the most brutal in recent times.

Shehada knows lives are being lost on both sides, but that doesn't make the violence around him any easier to process. As both a native of the Gaza Strip and as a journalist, he has been struggling to remain neutral.

"What I can say is Palestinians have been massacred and attacked for 70 years. But when Israel is the victim, everybody pays attention.

"Israel claims to be targeting Hamas, but what we are seeing in the hospitals and neighborhoods are civilians being killed ― women, children and the elderly.

"The international community must know exactly what's happening in the Gaza Strip. This is a nonstop war crime."