Reporter Says Hamas Rocket Fired From Hospital, Then Complains Her Story Became 'Propaganda'

Jonathan Vankin

A Finnish journalist reported that Hamas fired a rocket from the "back parking lot" of a hospital in Gaza at about 2:00 am in the morning — from the same hospital identified by The Washington Post in July as "a de facto headquarters for Hamas leaders who can be seen in the hallways and offices."

But Aishi Zidan, a reporter for Finland's largest newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, later complained on her social media accounts that her report was being used as "propaganda" by "pro-Israeli medias (sic)."

As seen in the above video of her report, uploaded Friday to YouTube, Zidan reported, "A rocket was fired from the back parking lot of the Shifa Hospital at 2 a.m. It happened right here, and was very loud. It's true that rockets are being fired from here by the Palestinians into Israel."

The Israeli government has long maintained that Hamas uses civilian areas as bases to fire rockets aimed at Israel.

But after her report was disseminated widely on the internet and in mainstream media, Zidan complained that her report that appeared to confirm the Israeli position was taken out of context.

"Don't use me as your propaganda weapon," Zidan wrote on her Facebook page, adding that her story was about "Palestinian civilians who were victims of war," and that "Shifa hospital was full of women and children who were victims of this ugly war. I described their stories in detail."

She went on to confirm, however, that her report of a rocket launched from a position at the hospital was true.

"During the night someone launched a rocket somewhere behind the hospital. Now this sentence from my article is spreading in the pro-Israeli medias. I mentioned this in my article because I'm a professional journalist. I try to cover the events truthfully as I see them and I strongly condemn these kind of actions."

Zidan said she found it "disgusting" that her report "became quickly a tool of propaganda."

The Israel-based 24-hour news channel, i24 News, however, reported that, "A number of international news organizations indicated their Gaza-based reporters were threatened for reporting that Hamas, the group that rules over the coastal enclave, is firing missiles at Israel from centers of civilian population."

Israel launched its "Operation Protective Edge" military offensive against Gaza on July 8. But before that, in the first six months of 2014, there were 181 rocket attacks directed against Israel, almost all of them originating in Gaza where Hamas controls the government. There were also 16 mortar attacks in that same time period.

The heaviest month prior to July for rocket and mortar attacks on Israel by Hamas and other groups was March, when 65 rockets and one mortar were launched in 23 separate attacks. Another apparent attack was averted when a militant in Gaza preparing to launch a rocket was killed by an Israeli air strike.