The BBC apologized Wednesday for initially broadcasting a false report that the Israel Defense Forces was targeting medical staff in Al Shifa Hospital.
“BBC News, as it covered initial reports that Israeli forces [had] entered Gaza’s main hospital, we said that medical teams and Arab speakers were being targeted,” said a TV presenter. “This was incorrect and misquoted a Reuters report. We should have said IDF forces included medical teams and Arabic speakers for this operation, so we apologize for this error, which fell below our usual editorial standards. The correct version of events was broadcast minutes later.”
Another presenter earlier in the day said that Israeli forces were “carrying out an operation against Hamas in Gaza’s Al Shifa Hospital, and they are targeting people, including medical teams as well as Arab speakers,” citing what she said was a Reuters report.
An actual Reuters item about the raid on Al Shifa quoted the Israeli military to report that “IDF forces include medical teams and Arabic speakers, who have undergone specified training to prepare for this complex and sensitive environment, with the intent that no harm is caused to the civilians.”
A later report said that, though witnesses heard some sporadic shooting, there were no reports of injuries inside the hospital, and the witnesses “described a situation that appeared calm, if tense, as Israeli troops moved between buildings carrying out searches” for Hamas terrorists, weapons, and infrastructure. Israel and the United States have said Hamas uses the hospital as a staging ground for military activities, despite the terror group’s denials.
This is not the first time the BBC has had to retract a report about Israel’s war on Hamas. After an explosion last month at Gaza’s Al Ahli Hospital, a BBC correspondent said it was “hard to see” what the cause was other than an Israeli airstrike, a claim that was later discredited. The outlet said it was “wrong to speculate” about the tragedy.