Friday, September 22, 2006

Reuters: the Hamas Taxi Cab Company?

Remember this incident?
GAZA (Reuters) - Two journalists were wounded by an Israeli air strike that hit a Reuters vehicle in Gaza City on Saturday, doctors and residents said.

One of the journalists, who worked for a local media organization, was seriously wounded. A cameraman working for Reuters was lightly wounded in the air strike, the doctors said. The army was checking the report.

Witnesses said the missile struck the Reuters armoured car despite the fact that it was clearly labeled as a media vehicle, with signs on all sides, including the roof.

Sabbah Hmaida, who works for a local news Web site, was seriously wounded in the legs. Fadel Shana, a Reuters cameraman, was lightly wounded in the blast.
Reuters later changed "lightly wounded" to this:
A cameraman working for Reuters was knocked unconscious in the air strike, one of several in the area.
A further Reuters report really laid it on thick:
GAZA (Reuters) - The missile struck the "P" of the bright red "PRESS" sign on the roof of the armor-plated Reuters car as Gaza cameraman Fadel Shana hurried to film an Israeli raid.He regained consciousness in hospital on Sunday, hours after the missile strike, with shrapnel wounds in his right hand and leg. He could not hear in one ear because of the explosion. His eyes were swollen and red.

"I am happy to be alive. I think I have been given another life," said Shana, 22, from his bed...

"I suddenly saw fire and the doors of the jeep flew open. I did not know what happened," said Shana, a Palestinian freelance cameraman who has worked for Reuters for several years.

I was acting as normal. As always, I abided by the journalistic rules. I drove normally, I did not get out of the car."

The car was labeled on all sides as a press vehicle.

Michael Lawrence, Reuters Managing Editor for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: "We are deeply concerned at this attack on a clearly marked press vehicle as journalists were doing their job to report the story from Gaza...

The Foreign Press Association described the attack as "outrageous targeting" of the vehicle and rejected the army's "excuses." It also demanded a full and transparent investigation
"I abided by the journalistic rules." Er, no. From YNET today (hat tip DFH reader):
Armored vehicles that were given to foreign news agencies operating in the country with the authorization of the State of Israel, may be used by hostile groups to carry out terror attacks against Israel, Director of the Government Press Office Danny Seaman warned in a letter addressed to Shin Bet Head Yuval Diskin.

On August 27 an Israel Defense Forces helicopter hit an armored vehicle that belonged to the Reuters news agency in Gaza. According to Seaman, the incident illustrated the failures in overseeing the use of armored vehicles granted to the foreign media agencies with the permission of the State.

The vehicle's presence in Gaza in itself constituted a violation of its license terms, and moreover, the jeep was carrying only Palestinians – one with links to Hamas who was not a Reuters employee.

Licenses for armored vehicles are granted by the State to foreign news agencies in Israel for the purpose of carrying out journalistic missions in the West Bank and Gaza. The State has even agreed to extend the permits for more than the one year stipulated by the law, on the condition that the license holder is a foreign national and that he alone will drive the car.

"To the best of our knowledge, all of the vehicles' owners have been violating the conditions for a long time now, despite our requests. This is not the first time we are warning that these vehicles will be used by hostile agents to carry out a terror attack against Israel. The recent incident in Gaza only illustrates the danger," Seaman wrote the Shin Bet chief.
That's worth repeating: "all of the vehicles' owners have been violating the conditions".


Blogger Little Bulldogs said...

Well I'm just shocked. Fancy foreign news agencies colluding with terrorists, who would have thought it?

11:44 am  
Anonymous Rog said...

Expect these salient facts to be plastered all over the BBC, CH4, etc.

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