Palestinian journalist says anyone helping in Gaza is becoming a ‘target’

'No one is managing in Gaza, people are just alive, they are a body without the soul', Palestinian journalist Plestia Alaqad tells ITV News

Palestinian journalist Plestia Alaqad says anyone helping people in Gaza – whatever their nationality – is “becoming a target” after an Israeli missile strike killed seven foreign aid workers.

The 22-year-old, who went viral for her chronicling of the ongoing war, said the deaths of seven people working for the food aid charity World Central Kitchen (WCK) was “beyond devastating”.

“It is so sad the Israelis are trying to kill anyone who is helping any Palestinian,” she adds.

Three Britons alongside Palestinian, Polish, Australian, and American-Canadian citizens died on Monday when the three-car convoy they were driving in was shelled along a coastal route of central Gaza. 

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has since acknowledged the country had carried out an “unintended strike” on the convoy, adding a thorough investigation will take place. 

Israel's highest-ranking officer has also apologised for making a "grave mistake", admitting the bombing "shouldn't have happened".

Palestinians inspect a vehicle with the logo of the World Central Kitchen wrecked by an Israeli airstrike in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip. Credit: AP

But some charities have already paused their operations in Gaza as a result, claiming delivering aid in the territory is becoming too dangerous.  

“People in Gaza are literally dying out of hunger and starvation is being used as a tool,” Plestia says, adding her loved ones are “alarmed” at the possibility that the very little food aid they do get could dwindle.  

“We either die out of hunger or its either we go and get flour from the humanitarian aid trucks...and we get killed. So, everyone at this point in Gaza knows they will eventually die, they just don’t know how or when. 

“The lucky ones in Gaza are the ones that get killed,” she adds. 

For Plestia, who fled with her family to Australia in November, it is important to capture what is happening in her homeland on social media – even from afar. 

The aspiring journalist started gaining media attention in the days after October 7, when she documented her life in Gaza and the effects of Israeli bombardment.

In real-time, she shared a rare first-person insight into the rubble-lined streets of Gaza. She reported from al-Shifa hospital after the Israeli siege and continued documenting even when she was ousted from her house that was decimated by bombs.

But with more than 4.7 million followers on Instagram, Plestia started fearing for her safety.

With the help of an uncle living in Australia, she fled with her mother, sister and grandmother in November last year.

Plestia Alqad filmed herself through the reality of those living on the Gaza Strip as Israel send missiles into the area

Despite being physically in Melbourne, Plestia says her “soul” is still in Gaza every day.  

“It feels terrible to know that I am here in a safe place far away from my homeland, from my colleagues, and from my loved ones. 

“I am afraid to open social media or Instagram, because I am afraid of watching the Instagram stories of people back home because I don’t want to know that another beloved person got killed.”  

She says she has also been experiencing guilt – though this has something that has been with her long before she fled to Australia.  

"I feel bad that I am in one piece, that I have two hands, two legs while other people got amputated. Some people in Gaza are sad because they lost a family member, but then they remember other lost entire families.” 

Speaking of her future, Plestia says she is "scared" of what will happen.

"I always dream of the day of going back and walking in the streets but I can't imagine what my reaction will be walking in the streets that will no longer be recognisable because everything will be demolished."

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says more than 32,000 Palestinians have now been killed by Israeli military action. That includes 11,000 children.

There are almost 76,000 Palestinians who have been injured, with only the most basic medical care to treat them.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know…