A security incident which took place on the afternoon of July 27th at Har Dov in northern Israel was reported on that day’s edition of BBC Radio 4’s ‘Six O’Clock News’. Newsreader Susan Rae told listeners (from 18:47 here) that:
Rae: “Israel says it has thwarted an attack by the Lebanese militia group Hizballah at the border between the two countries. The Israeli military says it opened fire on a group of fighters as they tried to cross into its territory. Hizballah denies attempting to infiltrate the area. Here’s our Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen.”
Bowen: “It was a small incident but it matters because it’s connected to big sources of danger, not just between Israel and Hizballah but also the war in Syria and the shadowy conflict between the Israelis and Iran. Hizballah is a close ally of Iran and the Syrian government of President Bashar al Assad. Israel bombs Iranian targets in Syria regularly. Hizballah seems to have been hitting back after one of its men was killed in a raid last week.”
Bowen did not provide listeners with any context to his statement that “Israel bombs targets in Syria regularly”. Audiences heard nothing about the transfer of weapons from Iran, via Syria, to the Lebanese terrorist organisation, its precision guided missiles project or the build-up of Hizballah forces along Israel’s border with Syria.
Seeing as the BBC did not report the July 20th incident in Syria (attributed to Israel by foreign sources) or the subsequent announcement by Hizballah of the death of one of its members in that attack, listeners would obviously have benefited from some relevant background information. Jeremy Bowen instead chose to continue with speculations unrelated to the incident that this news item supposedly concerns.
Bowen: “Israel is also suspected of being behind a mysterious series of explosions and fires at strategic sites in Iran, including one at its nuclear enrichment plant in Natanz. Neither Israel nor Hizballah wants another war but there’s always a risk that tit for tat exchanges could turn into something much worse. Both sides might decide to draw a line after this one, until the next flare-up.” [emphasis in italics in the original]
“A short time after the incident occurred, Hezbollah published a statement via its outlet Central Military Media denying its fighters were involved in a clash with the IDF.
“The Islamic Resistance affirms that there has been no clash or shooting on its part in the events of the day until now. Rather, it was only one party, which was the fearful, anxious and tense enemy,” the statement said.
Furthermore, Hezbollah explicitly warned their retaliation for the death of Mohsen was imminent.
“Our response to the martyrdom of the Mujahid brother Ali Kamel Mohsen who was martyred in the Zionist aggression on the outskirts of Damascus International Airport is definitely coming and the Zionists only have to wait for the punishment for their crimes,” the statement said.”
Radio 4 listeners were not told that Ali Kamel Mohsen’s mother appeared to be less convinced that there had been “no clash or shooting” as she handed out sweets after the incident at Har Dov. Neither were they given any information about the supposed role of the UN peacekeeping forces in Lebanon in preventing precisely such incidents along the border. Predictably, the fact that Hizballah is a widely designated terrorist organisation was not included in this report, while Jeremy Bowen’s unrelated speculations concerning events in Iran did get airtime.