When Hind Khoudary left home early in the war to report on the wounded and dead arriving at a Gaza City hospital, she didn’t realize it would be for the last time.
While she was on assignment, Israel ordered the evacuation of residents from northern Gaza and her family joined hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fleeing south. Ms. Khoudary, 28, stayed to document the war, but couldn’t return home after her neighborhood was bombed.
Ms. Khoudary has lived through four of the five wars between Israel and Hamas in the past 16 years. This time, she became homeless — without an adequate supply of clothing.
Reporting on mounting casualties consumed her, but after a week of stepping over smoky rubble and bloodied floors, she couldn’t ignore the smell of her socks. She was relieved when another journalist gave her new ones.
“I felt as if he gave me an iPhone, a MacBook — something I would wish for Christmas,” she said.
A freelance reporter for Anadolu Agency, a Turkish news service, Ms. Khoudary has simultaneously been targeted by Hamas and scrutinized for posts critical of Israel in the past.
She reports in fluent English and is often one of a few female reporters at the scene of attacks, documenting endless scenes of destruction.
“There’s no front or back line in Gaza,” she said. “It is all the front line.”
“We have all grown numb and we’ve all grown ‘alligator skin’ — it’s an airstrike? Oh, OK, an airstrike,” she said. “We no longer have reactions.”
Ms. Khoudary and her team live off dates to avoid contaminated food and sleep in an office where she collapses on her backpack. Since Israel imposed a “complete siege,” water has become scarce.
“I am officially dehydrated,” she wrote on the social media platform X on Nov. 4.
Ms. Khoudary remains separated from her family — her husband, mother, three brothers and 5-year-old nephew. But she is determined to keep followers informed.
“People want to listen. People want to read,” she said. “Now, I feel a great responsibility.”
Ms. Khoudary has been in the spotlight before.
In 2019, Hamas detained her and accused her of spying for speaking to protesters arrested during demonstrations against the rising cost of living.
The next year, she appeared in The New York Times for a Facebook post rebuking Palestinian activists for befriending Israelis over Zoom, and tagging Hamas officials. Critics accused her of endangering the activists’ lives. She removed the post, denied support for Hamas and reminded critics that she had been jailed by them.
But she doubled down on her political stance: normalizing with the enemy was a “sin,” she said on Facebook.
Now, Ms. Khoudary has become prominent for documenting the uncertainties she and others face in a brutal war.
On Nov. 3, as she was standing outside a hospital, an explosion rocked the densely populated area. Videos showed at least a half-dozen bodies lying in pools of blood, and screaming children. Israel’s military said it targeted an ambulance “being used by a Hamas terrorist cell,” a claim that couldn’t be verified independently.
“Physically, I’m perfect. But psychologically, I am not,” she said by telephone, her voice cracking.
Ms. Khoudary and Mr. Azaiza have lost many friends in this war, including the photojournalist Roshdi Sarraj, who was killed at home on Oct. 22.
Their colleagues’ families have not been spared, either. Al Jazeera Arabic’s bureau chief in Gaza, Wael al-Dahdouh, lost his wife, son, daughter and grandson in an attack. After a strike on their home, Mohammed Alaloul, a cameraman for Anadolu, wept over the bodies of his four children, four siblings and three nephews.
On Friday, Ms. Khoudary said on Instagram that she and other journalists had fled Gaza City in fear for their lives, joining the droves of Palestinians fleeing to the south by foot amid shelling and explosions as Israeli forces drew closer to the center of the city.
Ms. Khoudary can’t fathom how she and colleagues will process the personal scale of this war once they put their phones and cameras down.
“We are speechless and numb,” she said. “We think that our souls are turned off.”