Daily Mail runs with inaccurate and incendiary headline about Rafah strike

A May 29th article in the Daily Mail concerning the IDF’s attack on Hamas targets in Rafah on Sunday included one of the more inaccurate and propagandistic headlines we’ve seen at the outlet.

First Error

The first error (which we underlined in red) is their characterisation of the IDF attack on Hamas leaders on Sunday as a strike on a “refugee zone”/”tent camps”.  In fact, as the IDF stated while refuting Hamas claims regarding the blast, per the map below, it was outside of the humanitarian/tent area.

While this of course doesn’t mean that the Mail has to believe the evidence presented by the IDF, it’s a violation of the accuracy clause to frame unsubstantiated Hamas claims that the military struck the humanitarian/safe zone as if it was an indisputable fact.

The body of the article also misleads about Sunday’s attack, by writing that “yesterday [IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari] declared they had launched a ‘precise strike’ on a Hamas compound and killed two high-ranking Hamas officials”, while omitting the part of the Hagari’s press conference where he said that it was still unclear what set off the deadly blaze, while adding that the 17 kilogram munitions used in the strike were believed to be too small to have set off such a big fire.

Hagari further said that the military was “looking into all possibilities including the option that weapons stored in a compound next to our target which we did not know of may have ignited as a result of the strike” adding that footage of the incident indicated there were secondary explosions following the strike.

Second Error:

The other problem with the headline (which we highlighted in blue) is similar to the first one: they state as a fact the mere Hamas allegation that, yesterday, another IDF strike hit Rafah “tent camps”, killing twenty more Palestinians.  Yet, as Reuters clearly noted in their report on the incident, the IDF immediately and emphatically denied Hamas’s latest allegation.   In contrast to the Mail, Reuters’ headline (“Israel denies strike on camp near Rafah that Gaza officials say killed 21 people”, May 29) and opening sentence led with the IDF denial.

Tellingly, the actual Mail article shows that, in stark contrast with the assertion in their headline, editors were aware of the IDF denial, as it opens thusly:

Gaza health authorities [Hamas] said yesterday that another tent camp in the city had been hit, this time by Israeli tank shells, in an area Israel designated as a civilian evacuation zone. They said at least 21 people were killed in the attack, including women and children. The IDF denied striking the area of al-Mawasi, west of Rafah.

Finally, it’s rich that the headline warned of “global outrage” as a result of the casualties following Sunday’s attack on Hamas targets. In fact, the degree to which there has been international anger at Israel over the Rafah tragedy, it’s in large measure due to egregiously inaccurate and incendiary coverage of the incident by British outlets such as the Daily Mail.

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Inaccurate graphic, failure to meet editorial guidelines in BBC Rafah report

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