Gaza Airstrike Claims CBS Family Member

Marwan Al-Ghul
Marwan Al-Ghul, Palestinian cameraman and reporter in Gaza for CBS News, lost his brother in an Israeli air strike.

The war in Gaza has claimed more than 800 lives to date, according to the Palestinian count. And one of those deaths hit close to home here at CBS News.

There was a familiar face among the anguished relatives rushing the injured to a Gaza hospital, last week, reports CBS News correspondent Richard Roth. Marwan Al-Ghoul was in tears. As a Palestinian cameraman and reporter in Gaza, Al-Ghoul has seen plenty of suffering in the years he's worked for CBS News.

These tears though were personal, for the brother whose body he'd just brought in. Akram Al-Ghoul was 48 years old, and a father of five. A lawyer and judge in Gaza, he left his job when the Palestinian Authority lost power 18 months ago. He didn't want to work for Hamas.

"And he was very sad, and he left the Authority, and he left the city, and he went to live in the farm between his garden, between his flowers, dirt, and between his books," Al-Ghoul said.

And that's where he died, just north of Gaza City, on the family farm. In late afternoon two days after New Year's, an Israeli air strike killed him, Roth reports. With the war heating up, Al-Ghoul says, he'd just warned his brother to be careful.

"He said to me, 'Listen, Marwan, I am safe - the Israelis know me very well. I am civilian man - they would never kill me. If they kill me, they would be stupid, and the Israeli army is not stupid,'" Al-Ghoul said.

Al-Ghoul and Roth talked across the Israeli border by cell phone, over the noise of war. Al-Ghoul said his brother's death is a mystery that must've been a tragic mistake.

"His view was, all of the time, that there was no option - we must live peacefully with the Israelis all of the time," Al-Ghoul said.

Akram Al-Ghoul's death is now among the wartime incidents Human Rights Watch is asking Israel to investigate, Roth reports.

"I don't know," Al-Ghoul said choking back tears and raising his voice above the sirens in the background. "I don't know really. I want the people to remember him."