CAMERA’s Israel office yesterday prompted correction of a July 1 Agence France Presse headline which falsely reported that “Gaza rulers Hamas display weapons for first time.” In fact, Hamas’ public displays of weapons are a frequent affair in the Gaza Strip.
Nevertheless, AFP’s article opened by reiterating the headline’s incorrect assertion:
The armed wing of Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas has put its weapons on public display for the first time, drawing hundreds of Palestinians including children brandishing rocket launchers for selfies.
AFP itself has covered previous Hamas weapons displays on numerous occasions. For instance, AFP reported on May 28, 2021 (“Hamas fighters display weapons in Gaza after truce with Israel“):
Thousands of Hamas fighters held a military parade Friday in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, a week after a ceasefire with Israel took effect in the devastated coastal enclave.
Holding weapons, the masked members of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed branch of Hamas — the Islamist group that runs Gaza — paraded through the southern city, AFP reporters said.
Riding pick-up trucks, the fighters showed off a military arsenal including rocket launchers and a drone as groups of people, including women and children, cheered them on.
In addition, a 2016 AFP story (in Arabic) about a Hamas summer camp for children also includes an “exhibition” of weapons.
Moreover, AFP has published countless images, its own and Nur’s, of previous Hamas exhibitions of weaponry:
In response to communication from CAMERA staff, AFP commendably republished the article on July 2, with a corrected headline stating: “Hamas lets Gaza residents pose with weapons for first time.” Editors also slightly tweaked the first sentence to more accurately report:
The armed wing of Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas has put its weapons on public display, in a first open event drawing hundreds of Palestinians including children brandishing rocket launchers for selfies.