U.N. Concludes Hamas, not Israel, Likely Killed BBC Editor’s Son

by Eliana Johnson

A United Nations report concludes that a Gaza-based BBC editor’s eleven-month-old son was killed by a Hamas rocket, not an Israeli rocket, as was reported in November at the time of the boy’s death, most prominently by the Washington Post. That newspaper featured the story and the above photograph, which depicts BBC editor Jihad Masharawi holding his dead infant, on its front page.

The report, conducted by the U.N.’s high commissioner for human rights, concludes that that “a woman, her 11-month-old infant, and an 18-year-old adult in Al-Zaitoun were killed by what appeared to be a Palestinian rocket that fell short of Israel,” and notes that “according to IDF sources, at least 99 rockets fired between 14 and 19 November from within the Gaza Strip had landed in Gaza.”  

Challenged by readers who saw bias in the Post’s publication of the photo, along with the caption “Jihad Masharawi weeps as he holds the body of his 11-month-old son, Ahmad, at al-Shifa hospital after an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City,” Post ombudsman Patrick Pexton devoted a column to the defense of the photo. “Post staff then authenticated and verified the facts behind the Associated Press photo,” he said. “The dead baby was real. The bombing was real.” 

The Post has yet to publish a correction to its original piece, while Jihad Masharawi is denouncing the U.N. report as “rubbish.” 

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