BBC News airbrushes weapons and explosives in Jenin mosque

Previously we looked at how the BBC News website portrayed the background to and reasons for the counter-terrorism operation in Jenin on July 3rd/4th in its seven written reports on that topic:

HOW DID THE BBC EXPLAIN THE JENIN COUNTER-TERROR OPERATION?

In this post we will review the BBC News website’s portrayal of some of the action taken against the terrorist infrastructure in Jenin in order to understand what remains online as what the BBC describes as “permanent public record” that is “in the public interest”.

In its summary of the operation, the ITIC noted that:

“Approximately one thousand IEDs were found and destroyed, dozens of sites for the manufacture of weapons were exposed and destroyed, along with underground shafts (two of which were located in the Ansar Mosque in the Jenin refugee camp), 14 safe houses used by Palestinians wanted for terrorist activities and a number of operations rooms. In addition, thousands of dollars’ worth of terrorism-funding shekels were confiscated.”

Similarly, the INSS reported that:

“…6 facilities for the manufacture of explosives and explosive devices were destroyed; 14 apartments used for terrorist activity and as control rooms were identified and destroyed; 300 ready-to-use explosive devices were neutralized; dozens of mines, rifles, and pistols were captured, along with hundreds of bullets and dozens of kilograms of chemicals used to make explosives; 6 tunnel entrances were identified and destroyed, as were 2 weapons storehouses.”

As previously documented here, early BBC reporting included the promotion of unhelpful speculation concerning the subject of the terrorists’ command-and-control centres:

BBC ME BUREAU CHIEF FRAMES THE IDF OPERATION IN JENIN

Early stages of the operation also included the use of bulldozers to neutralise roadside bombs of the type employed by terrorists during an operation several weeks earlier. As reported by the Times of Israel:

““There was intelligence information here about explosives under [the road], we didn’t do this in the entire camp, only in specific areas where we knew explosives were placed,” IDF spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said.

The IDF said troops located and destroyed at least 11 improvised explosive devices hidden along roads in the Jenin refugee camp on Tuesday.

Operatives of terror groups “are planting IEDs and bombs on the roads in the refugee camp and in the city, in a civilian environment. This poses a threat to the security forces who use the roads in counterterrorism activities and to innocent people who also use them,” the IDF said in a statement.”

On the first day of the operation, IDF forces discovered a weapons and explosives storage site inside a mosque:

“Israeli forces gained control of the al-Ansari mosque on Monday afternoon, following a shootout with Palestinian gunmen in the area, during the course of a major counterterrorism operation against the Jenin refugee camp. […]

On the ground floor, troops found two tunnel openings that the army said were connected. Explosives, weapons, and other military equipment were found inside the holes and scattered across the mosque.”

The BBC portrayed those three topics as follows in its seven reports: [emphasis added]

Jenin: Israeli military launches major operation in West Bank city, Yolande Knell & David Gritten, 3/7/23 (last updated 4/7/23):

Command and control centres:

“The first drone strike overnight targeted an apartment that the military said was being used as a hideout for Palestinians who had attacked Israelis and as a “joint operational command centre” for the Jenin Brigades…”

IEDs on roads:

“Another man said there was a “massacre” in the camp.

“There are children and civilians and they’re not letting them out,” he added. “Our electricity is cut, they have dug up all our roads. The camp will be destroyed.””

Weapons storage in a mosque: not reported

Israel’s Jenin operation reignites Palestinian anger, Jeremy Bowen, 4/7/23:

Command and control centres:

“The Israeli army is releasing updates on explosives discovered and neutralised in the two days it has been in the camp, along with what it calls terrorist command centres.”

IEDs on roads: not reported

Weapons storage in a mosque: not reported

Gaza-Israel exchange of fire as Israeli forces complete Jenin withdrawal, David Gritten, 5/7/23:

Command and control centres:

“The military launched its operation in Jenin refugee camp early on Monday with a drone strike that it said targeted a joint command centre of the Jenin Brigades – a unit made up of different militant groups, including Hamas.”

IEDs on roads:

“Medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières complained that paramedics had been forced to proceed on foot because Israeli military bulldozers had destroyed many roads, stripping them of tarmac. […]

The admiral [IDF spokesman] said bulldozers had dug up about 2km (1.2 miles) of roads inside the camp along which militants had concealed explosive devices, putting civilians and troops at risk.”

“The Israeli military says its bulldozers dug up streets to remove explosive devices planted by militants” [photo caption]

Weapons storage in a mosque: not reported

Palestinian families return to rubble in Jenin refugee camp, Eman Eriqat & Alaa Daraghmeh, 5/7/23:

Command and control centres: not reported

IEDs on roads:

“The streets inside Jenin’s refugee camp have been decimated” [photo caption]

Weapons storage in a mosque: not reported but the article does include the following:

“One fighter from a Palestinian militant group said that Israeli forces had successful destroyed several of its facilities, including a storage unit containing explosives.”

Jenin: Palestinians fear escalation after destructive West Bank assault, Tom Bateman, 5/7/23:

Command and control centres: not reported

IEDs on roads:

“As hundreds of troops entered the camp on Monday morning, the army fired missiles from drones – air strikes have not been used in the West Bank for two decades – and tore up roads to clear them of what it said were militants’ roadside bombs.”

“Cars lie crushed and tossed aside where they were hewn out of the path of Israel’s D9 armoured bulldozers. The tarmac is torn up, lying everywhere in huge chunks. We walk along what was underneath the streets: rubble, sand and dust.”

Weapons storage in a mosque: not reported

Jenin: Palestinian boy killed during Israeli assault was unarmed – family, Tom Bateman, 11/7/23:

Command and control centres: not reported

IEDs on roads:

“It was its biggest assault in the West Bank in two decades, involving drone strikes into a packed urban area and armoured diggers causing massive destruction.”

Weapons storage in a mosque: not reported

Jenin: Abbas bids to reassert control with rare visit after Israeli assault, Tom Bateman, 12/7/23:

Command and control centres: not reported

IEDs on roads:

“Palestinian sources told the BBC that the militant groups co-ordinated the president’s visit with PA security forces. They said the militants on Tuesday allowed the PA forces to defuse improved explosive devices (IEDS) under streets, which had previously been laid to try to repel Israeli military raids.

The recent use of such IEDS against Israeli troops had been a key factor leading up to last week’s Israeli operation.”

Weapons storage in a mosque: not reported

In addition to those written reports, a filmed item titled “BBC reports from inside Jenin refugee camp after Israeli assault” also appears on the BBC News website, with its synopsis including the following:

“The BBC’s Anna Foster visited the camp, where she heard stories of Israeli armoured bulldozers reportedly ploughing through parked cars in search of improvised explosive devices.”

As we see, in addition to the unhelpful portrayal of terrorists’ command-and-control centres from the head of the BBC’s Middle East bureau Jo Floto, two additional reports included redundant qualifications relating to that topic. Similar superfluous qualifications appeared in much of the reporting on the issue of roadside IEDs.

Notably, none of the seven BBC reports that will remain online as “permanent public record” informs BBC audiences about the use of a mosque – apparently by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organisation – for the storage of weapons and explosives or the tunnels underneath that building.

That across the board omission is all the more remarkable given that, as shown on the BBC News website’s ‘live page’ on July 3rd, BBC journalists were well aware of that story.

Related Articles:

BBC NEWS APOLOGISES FOR ‘THE ISRAELI FORCES ARE HAPPY TO KILL CHILDREN’ CLAIM

BBC ME BUREAU CHIEF FRAMES THE IDF OPERATION IN JENIN

WHAT DID BBC REPORTS FROM A JENIN HOSPITAL IGNORE?

BBC NEWS CONTINUES TO UNDER INFORM ON THE JENIN BATTALION

BBC’S BATEMAN PROMOTES A JENIN STORY BASED ON AN UNVERIFIED VIDEO

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