Guardian peddles false claim that IDF fired on civilians in Jenin

A Guardian article by Bethan McKernan and Sufian Taha (“At least six Palestinians killed in IDF raid on Jenin refugee camp”, March 7) includes egregious omissions and errors.

At least six Palestinians have been killed and 10 wounded in an Israeli army raid on the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, according to Palestinian officials, the latest bloody incident in a new chapter of violence across Israel and the Palestinian territories.

A fierce gun battle erupted in the crowded refugee camp on Jenin’s western outskirts on Tuesday afternoon after the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) mounted an operation to find the Palestinian gunman suspected of killing two Israeli brothers as they drove through the West Bank town of Huwara last week.

Yet, nowhere does McKernan acknowledge that, in addition to the death of the terrorist wanted for the murder of two Israeli brothers in Huwara last week, the rest of the Palestinians killed were, according to reports in the Israeli and international media, members of terror groups, citing statements by the terror groups themselves.

McKernan then promotes accusations that the IDF fired on civilians in an ambulance:

“They are not letting anyone in and they are shooting ambulances,” said one [Palestinian witness] on the phone with a relative trapped in their home by the shooting.

Footage circulated by members of the Palestinian Red Crescent on social media showed an ambulance with bullet holes in the side, and witnesses said that medics were prevented from reaching the injured. A spokesperson for the IDF did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

However, on the same evening the Guardian article was published, the IDF tweeted the following, noting that terror suspects tried to use the ambulance to escape – which, per international law, made the vehicle a legitimate target.

English translation of the tweet:

During the operation, the forces fired shoulder-fired rockets and used additional measures against a building where the wanted man was barricaded. The forces also fired at militants who fired massive fire at them, hits were detected. Among other things, armed men were identified who shot at the fighters from an ambulance, and used it as cover

Here’s a video recorded by an IDF UAV, in which terrorist suspects during the clashes are see using an ambulance to move in the area and flee the scene:

Further into the article, McKernan writes this:

At least 70 Palestinians, about half of them combatants, have been killed by Israeli fire so far this year, according to tallies by human rights groups and news organisations. Palestinian “lone wolf” attacks have killed 14 Israelis, all but one of them civilians.

The words “about half of them combatants” suggests that the other half were uninvolved civilians, which, as research by CAMERA UK has demonstrated, is untrue.  In fact, the overwhelming majority of Palestinian fatalities were terrorists or males engaged in violence at the time.

We’ve complained to Guardian editors about McKernan’s omission of the fact that all six Palestinians killed were terrorists, as well as the false claim that the IDF fired on civilians in an ambulance.

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