Islamic Jihad Blamed for Killing Gaza Infant With Misfired Rocket

Hamas’s Gaza Health Ministry initially blamed Israel

Israeli emergency personnel gather at the site of rocket attack in the southern Israeli town of Ashdod
Israeli emergency personnel gather at the site of rocket attack / Getty Images

When a baby in the Gaza Strip was killed over the weekend, Palestinians blamed Israeli forces. But Palestinian Islamic Jihad has reportedly confirmed to the family that its own misfired rocket was responsible.

According to the Jerusalem Post, a news outlet of Islamic Jihad's rival Hamas published a report saying a "rocket of the resistance exploded inside the family's home due to a technical failure" before taking the report down.

The international Israeli news agency Tazpit Press Service (TPS) reported that Islamic Jihad representatives offered compensation to the family for the death of the baby and a woman who may have been her mother. Additionally, Islamic Jihad offered to qualify the baby as a "martyr" in order to keep the family silent about the circumstances of her death.

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) denied responsibility for the baby’s death, saying credulous journalists had "amplified the lie."

Israel was widely blamed for the baby’s death, including by the Associated Press and Al Jazeera. The AP now has amended its reporting to say the IDF has denied responsibility, although it has said it cannot be sure who is telling the truth.

Al Jazeera has not updated its story and it remains the top hit on Google's news search for the term "Palestinian baby."

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Al Jazeera
has been deemed unreliable by media watchdogs, including the nonpartisan NewsGuard, which said it "generally fails to maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability."

Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired almost 700 rockets, mostly unguided, at Israel this past weekend. They killed four Israeli civilians in addition to the Palestinian citizens killed by faulty rockets, and Israel responded with precision strikes against strategic targets.

Nevertheless, mainstream outlets blamed "both sides" for the violence. NBC's chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel also downplayed Palestinians' moral culpability by saying Gaza, which Israel vacated in 2005, is a "prison colony" and arguing that Palestinians "turn up the heat" when they haven’t gotten as much aid as they want.