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.
.@AP, please update headline, story. Palestinians have already confirmed Mustafa al-Kastouni, killed in Jenin gunfight today, was member of Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a designated terror org @tgoldenberg @jdaniszewski https://t.co/3U7DVEERln (1/3) pic.twitter.com/xGlA0mefdf
— Tamar Sternthal (@TamarSternthal) August 17, 2023
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.