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April 20, 2006

AP Downplays Terrorist Group's Activities

Reporting on the lastest move by the new Hamas-led Palestinian Authority, the Associated Press today states:

The new Palestinian interior minister from Hamas on Thursday named a Palestinian whose group has carried out attacks on Israel to head a new security force made up of Islamic militants, a direct challenge to the authority of President Mahmoud Abbas.

The minister, Said Siyam, issued a decree appointing Jamal Abu Samhadana, the head of the Popular Resistance Committees, as director general of the Interior Ministry. Samhadana's group is responsible for many of the homemade rockets launched at Israel in recent weeks.

True, the group is responsible for many rocket attacks against Israel. But the wire service might want to check its own database. As recently as a couple of weeks ago, on April 2, AP more accurately and thoroughly described the Popular Resistance Committees as "an umbrella group of about 200 gunmen that has been linked to explosions of Israeli tanks and a deadly attack on a U.S. diplomatic convoy in 2003."

That's better, but still not the entire picture. Here's an excerpt from a Feb. 9 AP report:

In other violence, two militants with a bomb belt threw hand grenades and opened fire on Israeli forces at the Erez checkpoint, where thousands of Palestinian laborers cross from Gaza into Israel every day. Israeli troops shot and killed them, and their bomb belt exploded, the army said. No Israeli soldiers were wounded, and the army closed Erez.

The Popular Resistance Committees and Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claimed joint responsibility for the attack at the checkpoint.

So the group is also responsible for cynically attacking a crossing point that thousands of Palestinian families—not to mention the Palestinian economy as a whole—rely on for their well being.

What else? AP, July 23, 2005:

Palestinian gunmen opened fire on an Israeli vehicle traveling on the main road connecting the Gaza Strip settlements to Israel early Sunday, killing a husband and wife and wounding four other Israelis, rescue workers and the army said. ...

In a phone call to The Associated Press, a spokesman for the Islamic Jihad said the attack was carried out by a member of his group, together with gunmen from the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades and a group calling itself the Popular Resistance Committee.

That is, the group not only attacks Israeli military vehicles and official US diplomatic convoys, but also Israeli civilians.

AP, Jan. 4, 2005:

Palestinian militants set off a large truck bomb as gunmen stormed an Israeli base at a vital Gaza crossing Thursday, killing six Israelis and wounding five others in an attack that defied peace efforts by new Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. ...

A spokesman for another group, the Popular Resistance Committees, said militants filmed the attack.

AP, April 23, 2004:

Palestinian militants stormed a Palestinian police station in Gaza City and released three men with possible links to a deadly bombing of a U.S. diplomatic convoy, an American official said Friday.

A fourth man refused to leave with the three, saying he was waiting to be formally released by Palestinian authorities in accordance with a March decision by a Palestinian court.

"We succeeded in freeing three of our brothers," Abu Abir, a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees militant group, told The Associated Press. "An effort is being made with the Palestinian Authority to release the one who remains behind bars."

The Associated Press also has noted that the Committees took responsibility for killing Palestinian security official Mousa Arafat.

The aftermath of a deadly Palestinian attack on a U.S. diplomatic convoy
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Why is it that on the day that the Popular Resistance Committees leader becomes officially involved with the Palestinian government, the wire service started ignoring all these attacks, including the deadly attack on American diplomats, describing the group merely as one responsible for firing "homemade rockets"? Hopefully it is only a coincidence. And hopefully, future reports about the group will be more accurate about its past activities.

Posted by GI at April 20, 2006 04:21 PM

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