Israeli Foreign Ministry releases fake video showing a Palestinian man opening fire – Israeli newspaper reports.
An expert said the death of a veteran Palestinian journalist during an Israeli military raid in the West Bank on Wednesday morning will be retaliated, and will likely cause diplomatic damage to Israel, as the army scrambled to explain the incident.
“There are calls for revenge on social media now, and from here starts the need to thwart the attack,” said Orit Perlov, a research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) who specializes in Palestinian social media.
Al-Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh, 51, was shot dead in the West Bank city of Jenin as Israeli troops carried out raid on Palestinians. Israel has been cracking down on the area on the pretext of ‘terror attacks’ by Palestinians from the Jenin area.
Investigations into wartime incidents can take months, and only hours have elapsed since the shooting. In the meantime, dueling videos drove the narrative about her death.
Footage on social media showed Abu Akleh lying on the ground, covered in blood, shortly after the sound of gunshots. She was wearing a blue press vest and helmet, clearly identifying herself as a journalist.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry, military, and other officials however posted a video online that appeared to show an armed Palestinian man indiscriminately opening fire between two buildings in Jenin, and said it was likely Abu Akleh was hit by Palestinian bullets.
“Someone’s down,” one person can be heard saying in the footage. “Soldier down. He’s lying on the ground,” the person filming said.
The claim about a “soldier down” appeared to be false, as no Israeli troops were hurt in the operation, according to the Israel Defense Forces. Israeli officials suggested the shooter had actually hit Abu Akleh and mistaken her for a soldier.
The video was not solid evidence that Abu Akleh was hit by Palestinian gunfire, though. In fact, the video of the gunman was filmed several hundred meters away, and it was unlikely the two incidents were related, according to the left-wing B’Tselem rights group.
The Israeli military said troops responded to gunfire directed at them during the arrest operation, and said “hits were identified.” There were no reports of Palestinian casualties beyond Abu Akleh and another journalist who was reportedly injured.
Last year, Israeli jets struck a high-rise tower in the Gaza Strip used by international media outlets that the military said also housed a Hamas base of operations. It took the army several months to explain to the media why it needed to strike the building, but by then, the diplomatic damage was already done.
Source: Times of Israel