An Italian reporter who fled from Gaza yesterday confirmed an IDF account that it was an errant Hamas rocket rather than an Israeli strike that killed ten Gazans, mostly children, on Monday.
After leaving Gaza, Gabriele Barbati tweeted.
— gabrielebarbati (@gabrielebarbati) July 29, 2014
Ha’aretz reported on Monday:
[T]he morning’s relative calm was shattered in the afternoon, and the day ended with 30 Palestinians dead, including 10 people – among them eight children – killed in a park in the Al-Shati refugee camp and others killed at Gaza’s Shifa Hospital.
The Israel Defense Forces denied responsibility for both those strikes, saying in a statement that both resulted from misfired Palestinian rockets that had been aimed at Israel but fell short. This claim was strongly denied by Palestinian militant groups.
Barbati confirmed that his report only refers to the Al-Shati strike but it’s important in two respects.
Barbati’s reference to “retaliation” is a reminder that reporter in Gaza are not free to report everything. Hamas has issued guidelines for social media in order to prevent reporters and bloggers from giving away possibly valuable intelligence. The Times of Israel reported earlier this week that “journalists currently working in Gaza have been harassed and threatened by Hamas for documenting cases of the terrorist group’s involvement of civilians in warfare against Israel.”
Also Barbati’s observation that “militants rushed and cleared debris,” is important because some reporters will report the absence of shrapnel as a sign that damage was not caused by a Hamas rocket. For example yesterday Jake Tapper of CNN asked Gaza based reporter, Karl Penhaul, in the video embedded below, about the possibility that misfires were responsible for any casualties. Penhaul responded that there was no debris that would have allowed him to identify the munitions responsible for the damage. Barbati explained why there would be no debris.
[Photo: War Footage HD / YouTube ]