AFP Posthumously Demotes Hamas Commanders to Bodyguards

While some military figures killed in duty are posthumously promoted in rank, Agence France Presse slapped terror commanders killed last night alongside Hamas deputy chief Salah Al-Arouri (also spelled Al-Aruri) with a demotion.

A screenshot from AFP’s Facebook page echoing the claim about Al-Arouri’s slain “bodyguards”

Thus, this morning’s article,Israel ready ‘for any scenario’ after strike kills Hamas deputy in Lebanon,” had originally reported (6:38 AM GMT):

A high-level security official in Lebanon told AFP that Saleh al-Aruri was killed along with his bodyguards in a strike by Israel, which has vowed to destroy Hamas after the movement’s shock October 7 attacks. [Emphasis added.]

Similarly, a separate story this morning, “Hamas says Israel strike in Lebanon kills its deputy chief,” likewise cited the death of Al-Arouri’s “bodyguards”:

A high-level security official told AFP that Saleh al-Aruri was killed along with his bodyguards in the strike by Israel, which vowed to destroy Hamas after the movement’s unprecedented October 7 attacks on Israel. [Emphasis added.]

Hamas commander Samir Findi (Screenshot from Roya News)

In fact, those killed alongside Al-Aruri included two top military commanders, and were not merely “bodyguards.” As Times of Israel reported:

Hamas confirmed that seven people in total were killed in the explosion, a precision strike on a third-floor apartment said to serve as an office for the terror group. The others besides Arouri were identified as military commanders Samir Findi and Azzam Al-Aqraa, along with Hamas figures Mahmoud Shaheen, Muhammad Bashasha, Muhammad al-Rayes and Ahmed Hammoud.

According to reports, Findi oversaw Hamas military activities in Lebanon — including the firing of rockets at Israel — and was considered the terror group’s point man with the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. Al-Aqraa reportedly orchestrated terror activities in the West Bank from overseas.

Similarly, The New York Times reported:

Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’s top political leader, said the strike had killed Mr. al-Arouri, two Hamas military commanders and four other members. [Emphasis added.]

The Associated Press likewise reported today:

Hamas confirmed that Arouri was killed along with six other members of the group, including two military commanders. [Emphasis added.]

AFP also failed to accurately report the full “credentials” of al-Arouri himself, identifying him only as Hamas’ deputy leader. But the terror leader’s robust Curriculum Vitae also includes founding Hamas’ military wing, a fact reported elsewhere including AP, Reuters, the New York Times. The Gray Lady detailed:

Mr. al-Arouri played a key role in Hamas’s relationships with its regional allies and in increasing Hamas’s military capabilities, according to regional and Western officials. A longtime Hamas operative, he was one of the founders of the group’s armed wing and was linked to a number of attacks on Israeli civilians, including the kidnapping and killing of three teenagers in the West Bank in 2014, which he called a “heroic operation.”

AFP’s abridged resume said only: “Aruri, who lived in exile, is accused by Israel of masterminding numerous attacks.”

Following communication with CAMERA’s Israel’s office, AFP’s updated article later this morning (“Israel ready ‘for any scenario’ after strike kills Hamas deputy in Lebanon,” 11:22 am GMT), more fully described Al-Arouri as “the political number two of its enemy Hamas and one of the founders of the Islamist group’s military wing.”

In addition, the erroneous reference to slain “bodyguards” no longer appears, with the updated language more accurately stating, “Aruri and six other militants were killed in the attack.” The later version, however, still does not note the two commanders’ high-level positions.

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