A number of Hamas sources in Gaza confirmed today that five people were killed during a botched attempt by the terror organisation to disarm an IDF missile which had failed to detonate.
The emergency services spokesman for Hamas, Ashraf al-Qudra, told reporters that as well as the five fatalities, numerous people had been injured, four seriously.
The New York Times reported that Hamas Interior Ministry spokesperson Iyad al-Buzam told AFP, “A number of explosives experts were killed while dismantling a missile in Beit Lahiya. Among them was a foreign journalist.”
That foreign journalist who tragically lost his life was named by the Italian government as Simone Camilli, a cameraman for The Associated Press.
Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini said to the press, “Simone Camilli’s death is a tragedy for his family and for the country. Once more a reporter pays the price for a war that has lasted too many years.”
While every sympathy goes out to Simone’s family, the question is now being asked: Why were AP reporters gathering round an undetonated missile and why didn’t the “explosives experts” dealing with it create a safe distance around the missile in order to avoid any possible loss of life?
A spokesperson for Kamal Adwan hospital, Muayin al-Masri, said today that the five people killed in the blast included four Gaza residents. He added that five others were wounded, three of them in critical condition.
The Telegraph reported today that Camilli worked for The Associated Press since being hired as a freelancer in Rome in 2005. He even moved to Jerusalem in 2006, and was well-known for covering risky assignments in Gaza.
Najib Jobain, the AP’s chief producer in Gaza, said Camilli was a welcome face in Gaza who loved the story so much that he recently turned down an assignment in Iraq to come to the seaside strip.
“He was my brother. I have known him for almost 10 years. He was so happy to be with me working in Gaza,” Jobain said.
By all accounts, it seems that this was a ploy gone wrong by Hamas to allow reporters so close to the disarming of a missile that they ultimately lost their lives,. Of course, the four dead Gazans will no doubt be added to Hamas’ already doctored list of numbers that it uses to delegitimize Israel.
It seems the increasing delegitimization attempts by Hamas to manipulate western media have finally had some consequences, fatal ones in this case. Not that this will be much comfort for the five people who lost their lives, or for the others who are fighting for theirs.
No doubt a U.N resolution will be forthcoming soon to condemn Hamas for facilitating the untimely death of an Italian AP reporter who was allowed to come too close to a dangerous munitions disposal operation!