Content warning -- graphic photo below
Egypt’s Prime Minister Hisham Kandil cried on Friday and kissed the dead child’s forehead, calling him a “martyr.” CNN called him “another victim of an [Israeli] airstrike.” Newspapers showed his photo as an example of the Palestinian civilians killed by Israel's ongoing military campaign against militants in Gaza.
The only problem with that narrative is that 4-year-old Mahmoud Sadallah was killed by a Hamas rocket that fell short in Gaza instead of its intended target: Israel. According to an Israeli military statement Sunday, “Ninety-nine rockets fired from Gaza have crashed back into Gaza in the last four days. Hamas fires from civilian areas...and hits its own people.”
Pro-Israel blogger Elder of Ziyon reviewed media reports on the incident and wrote: “The IDF did not launch any airstrikes in Gaza while Egyptian PM Kandil was in Gaza.” Israel had agreed to a temporary ceasefire while Kandil was visiting Gaza on Friday, as a gesture to Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. Even so, terror groups continued firing on Israel during the diplomatic visit.
Elder of Ziyon pointed out that the Associated Press reported from Gaza that not only where there no eyewitnesses to the strike, no evidence remained onsite for examination. The AP said: “Israel vehemently denied involvement, saying it had not carried out any attacks in the area at the time” and that “…neighbors said local security officials quickly took what remained of the projectile, making it impossible to verify who fired it.”
The New York Times also visited the home and wrote:
…the damage was nowhere near severe enough to have come from an Israeli F-16, raising the possibility that an errant missile fired by Palestinian militants was responsible for the deaths.
And on Saturday night, the Telegraph reported:
The highly publicised death of four-year-old Mohammed Sadallah appeared to have been the result of a misfiring home-made rocket, not a bomb dropped by Israel.
But CNN correspondent Sara Sidner appears to have taken the family’s account at face value. She said, “Mahmoud quickly became a symbol of the war in Gaza.” Reporting from the site of the explosion, she said:
"While there were plenty of Hamas flags flying in this neighborhood, five hours after the attack, we saw no evidence here of military activity though it was impossible to look in every building."
In a visit to the hospital on Friday, both the Egyptian and Hamas prime ministers used the boy’s death to denigrate Israel. The Telegraph reports Kandil was filmed lifting the dead boy out of an ambulance and said, "The boy, the martyr, whose blood is still on my hands and clothes, is something that we cannot keep silent about."
Israel’s Channel 1 News on Saturday devoted a segment to discussing Sara Sidner's CNN report, bringing in Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon to discuss the challenge Israel faces in bringing to the world not only its side of the story, but objective facts.
Watch the CNN report here: