Harriet Sherwood on today’s Palestinian rocket attack: An error & an improvement

Earlier today Palestinian terrorists in Gaza fired four Kassam rockets at Israel, triggering red alert sirens throughout the south.  One rocket landed in a residential courtyard in Sderot, seen here:

rocketAt 10:26 GMT, the Guardian’s Live Blog on President Obama’s visit to Israel included the following dispatch by Harriet Sherwood.

Two rockets fired from Gaza landed in Sderot, an Israeli city in southern Israel, this morning. It was the first time that militants in Gaza have fired rockets since a truce ended the eight-day mini-war, Operation Pillar of Defence, in November.

According to Israel’s Army Radio, one of the rockets exploded in the yard of the Haziza family. The mother of the family, Sara, said: “Let Obama come and see how people live, we build houses and villas but we live inside a cage, in a protected room. Nothing is worth it for us. Let Obama come and see how an eight-year old girl has to run to a protected room that is completely open, and how I can’t close the door of the protected room.”

Obama referred to the southern Israel city, which he visited before becoming president, in his short speech on arrival in Israel, saying: “I’ve stood in Sderot, and met with children who simply want to grow up free from fear.”

There were no casualties, and no immediate claim of responsibility. [emphasis added]

First, it is important to note that Sherwood’s brief post represents an improvement in comparison to how the Guardian typically covers news of such terrorist attacks. She personalized the Israeli victims, noting the name of the family whose home was nearly hit, and even included a quote by the mother of the family.  (For additional posts on Sherwood’s improvement in covering the region, see here and here.)

However, Sherwood made an error. Today’s rocket attacks were not the first since the end of ‘Pillar of Defense’.

On Dec. 23, 2012, Palestinians in Gaza fired a rocket aimed at Israel (but which didn’t reach the Israeli side of the border).  

Additionally, on Feb. 26, 2013, Palestinians fired an M-75 rocket at the city of Ashkelon.  (The rocket fell on a road south of the city.) Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the terrorist group associated with the party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Fatah, claimed responsibility for the attack.  The group reportedly stated that the attack was a response to the death of Al Aqsa Brigades member Arafat Jaradat while in Israeli custody. 

Of further interest in the context of Sherwood’s omission, the the Guardian’s Matthew Weaver actually reported the Feb 26 rocket attack on Ashkelon, on that day’s edition of their ongoing Middle East ‘Live Blog’.

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