AFP Captions Cast Unverified Hamas Claim as Fact

Numerous Agence France Presse photo captions yesterday stated as fact Hamas’ claim that a four-year-old Gaza boy died after being wounded by Israeli fire despite the fact that the agency itself reported that the circumstances of the death have not been independently verified.

The unsubstantiated captions state as fact Ahmed Abu Abed “died of injuries sustained during clashes along the border fence with Israel on December 7.”

Yet, AFP itself reported Dec. 11 (“Palestinian child dies of wounds after border clashes: Gaza ministry“):

It was not clear why the child had been taken to the border protests and there was no independent confirmation of the circumstances.

A sample of the unsubstantiated captions follows:

The mother of Palestinian boy Ahmed Abed mourns over his body during his funeral in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, on December 12, 2018. The four-year-old Palestinian died as a result of the wounds he received on December 7, 2018 east of Khan Yunis during clashes between the Israeli army and protestors along the Gaza border. SAID KHATIB / AFP

Mourners carry the body of Palestinian boy Ahmed Abed during his funeral in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, on December 12, 2018. The four-year-old Palestinian died as a result of the wounds he received on December 7, 2018 east of Khan Yunis during clashes between the Israeli army and protestors along the Gaza border. SAID KHATIB / AFP

The mother of Palestinian boy Ahmed Abed cries during his funeral in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, on December 12, 2018. The four-year-old Palestinian died as a result of the wounds he received on December 7, 2018 east of Khan Yunis during clashes between the Israeli army and protestors along the Gaza border. SAID KHATIB / AFP

On what basis do AFP photo captions state as fact that he died of injuries sustained during clashes at the border when AFP acknowledges that there is no independent confirmation of the circumstances? While Hamas’ Ministry of Health alleges that he died from injuries sustained at clashes, previous Hamas claims about Israeli responsibility for child fatalities did not turn out to be true (such as Layla al-Ghandour and Shady Abdel-Al), and therefore its claims should be treated as just that.

CAMERA calls on AFP to amend its captions to reflect the fact that the information Abu Abed died as a result of wounds from Israeli fire is a Hamas ministry claim, and has not yet been confirmed.