BBC News continues to avoid the issue of Hamas assets in civilian areas

On the afternoon of November 13th the BBC News website published a report on its ‘Middle East’ page under the headline ‘Israeli reservist: I chose to fight but don’t know if I’ll come back alive’. Written by Lipika Pelham, the article itself is unremarkable but the presentation of one of the photographs used to illustrate it is worthy of note.

The photograph is credited to the IDF and captioned as follows:

“Israel began a ground invasion of Gaza three weeks after the 7 October attack (IDF photo)”

Notably, the BBC chose not to inform its audiences what that photograph taken on November 7th actually shows.

The same picture appeared on the Times of Israel liveblog on November 7th.

The amusement park in question is called Al Noor and is located south of Gaza City. The IDF reported that it had destroyed that tunnel shaft.

The Times of Israel’s report continues:

“Another paratroopers team operating with forces of the 7th Armored Brigade found a separate tunnel next to a university in northern Gaza.

Both tunnels were later destroyed.

In the same area as the university, a weapons depot was found. The IDF says troops recovered chemical substances, assault rifles, RPGs, mines and other equipment.”

ABC Australia identified that location as Al-Azhar University Faculty of Law.

The BBC News website’s live pages for November 7th and 8th did not report those discoveries and we have been unable to find any stand-alone BBC reporting on that story, including in a report titled ‘Israel says troops operating ‘in the heart of Gaza City’published on the morning of November 8th.

Of course had BBC audiences been made aware of the fact that Hamas places tunnels and weapons depots near civilian facilities such as amusement parks and universities, they would have been much better placed to judge for themselves the statements made by an activist doctor in a report by Tim Dodd published on the BBC News website’s ‘England’ page and in the ‘updates’ section of its ‘Middle East’ page on November 13th under the headline ‘Gaza: Surgeon ready to help says moral duty trumps fear’.

“The Islamic University of Gaza and Al-Azhar University, where Nick teaches, both sustained “serious damage” in October during bombing, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, which forms part of the Palestinian Authority.

The Israel Defense Forces claimed the Islamic University of Gaza “serves as a central training centre for Hamas engineers” and a “training institution for the development and production of weapons”, claims Nick is sceptical of.

“I’ve visited these buildings on many, many occasions and, more importantly, people I’ve known for many years and trust implicitly have spent decades in these buildings and [they] do not believe that happens,” he says.

“It’s inconceivable to me that they could be used as Hamas headquarters without the knowledge of people who work there day in, day out.””

Well over a year ago the IDF supplied foreign journalists with information about Hamas military assets and infrastructure located in civilian areas near schools, hospitals and universities – including the Islamic university. As we see, the BBC continues to avoid providing its audiences with accurate information on that issue, thereby compromising their ability to understand crucial aspects of the IDF’s current operations in the Gaza Strip. 

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