AP Updates: Jenin Fatality Was Confirmed Al Aqsa Fighter

The Associated Press today quickly and commendably updated an article and headline today following communication from CAMERA pointing out that a Palestinian killed in a Jenin gunbattle this morning was in fact a confirmed member of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a designated terror organization affiliated with Fatah. AP’s coverage had reported that there was no information immediately available about membership in a terror organization.

Initially entitled “Israeli troops kill a Palestinian in a gunbattle outside a West Bank bakery,” this morning’s article had reported (8:55 am GMT):

The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the man killed as Mustafa al-Kastouni, 32. It was not immediately clear if he was affiliated with a militant group. The Hamas militant group said its fighters engaged in a gunbattle with Israeli troops in Jenin and lobbed explosives at the forces.

But within a few hours two other leading news agencies, Reuters and Agence France Presse, had already reported that Palestinians confirmed that al-Kastouni was a member of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.

With an informative headline making clear that al-Kastouni was a gunman, Reuters reported (“Israeli forces kill Palestinian gunman in West Bank raid“)

Israeli forces killed a Palestinian gunman during a raid that set off clashes in the flashpoint town of Jenin in the occupied West Bank, medical officials and militant groups said. . . .

The dead 32-year-old was a senior operative with Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed wing of President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement, according to relatives.(Emphasis added.)

Likewise, Agence France Presse reported that al-Kastouni’s family confirmed he was affiliated with the Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade and published a headline which made clear that he was a combatant (“Israel raid kills West Bank militant, wounds health worker: Palestinians,” 8:55 am GMT):

Israeli forces on Thursday killed a Palestinian militant and shot a health worker during a raid on the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, Palestinian and Israeli officials said. . . .

Kastouni himself was a fighter from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, a militant group linked to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah movement, the Jenin Brigades said.

In response to communication from CAMERA, AP commendably amended the headline, which now explicitly states that the fatality was a “militant”: “Israeli troops kill a Palestinian militant in a gunbattle outside a West Bank bakery.” The original headline left open the possibility that the slain Palestinian was an innocent bystander, a mistake that readers can no longer make.

Moreover, AP’s story now rightly reports:

The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the man killed as Mustafa al-Kastouni, 32, and he was claimed by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, an armed offshoot of the secular Fatah party, as one of its fighters. 

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