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July 28, 2014

Evolution of AFP Coverage of UNRWA School Fatalities

On Friday, we noted that Agence-France Presse reported as fact, in both news articles and photo captions, that an Israeli shell was responsible for at least 15 fatalities in an UNRWA school in the northern Gaza Strip July 24, despite the fact that United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon himself had said: "Circumstances are still unclear." On Thursday, army officials suggested that an errant Palestinian rocket may have been responsible.

CAMERA staff last week contacted editors to ask if they had information that Ban Ki-Moon did not. If not, they owe their readers a retraction.

While AFP has neither retracted nor produced any substantiation for blaming Israel, today's story does walk back the unequivocal declaration of Israeli responsibility.

Thus, the French wire service reports today:

A controversial incident on Thursday when a UN school acting as a shelter was shelled, killing 15 people, drew fierce condemnation from Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA.

The Israeli army confirmed on Sunday it had hit the school, but said it was a "single errant mortar" round, denying that people were killed "as a result of (army) operational activity.

The footage that the army released (below) which it says shows the single errant IDF mortar which hit the Beit Hanoun school Thursday shows that the weapon fell into an empty school yard. Why did the AFP omit this critical information which is highly pertinent to the murky story?

Likewise, the IDF statement regarding the "single errant mortar" was:"The preliminary inquiry and footage indicate that a single errant mortar landed in the courtyard of the UNRWA school, when it was completely empty." In the AFP's substantial article, there was not room for an additional five more words: "when it was completely empty"?

See also: UK Media Fail to report evidence contradicting presumption of IDF guilt in UN school deaths

Posted by TS at July 28, 2014 01:49 PM


Thank you for exposing AFP for their lies about Israel again. Where is the Retraction from AFP liars?
AP and AFP have been promoting Palestinian lies for years.
Does anyone remember this?
'Human rights watch' official, AP and AFP reporters, trash Israel in private Facebook group
May 22, 2013

@AP touts its "commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism." And then, it tweets this:

As much of world watches Gaza war in horror, members of Congress fall over each other to support Israel:

Posted by: Ken Kelso at July 29, 2014 10:44 AM

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