Osama Dueij’s Death Is News; His Hamas Affiliation Less So

With research by CAMERA Arabic.

The death today of Palestinian Osama Dueij, wounded last Saturday during violent clashes at the Israel-Gaza border, made big news. On the other hand, his status as a fighter belonging to the Al Qassam Brigade, Hamas’ military wing, which the United States, European Union, Israel and others consider a terror organization, made not so much news.

Take, for example, Agence France Presse’s article today, Palestinian wounded in Gaza clashes dies ahead of new protest.” The incomplete article reports: 

A Palestinian has died from injuries sustained during weekend clashes with Israeli forces on the Gaza border, the territory’s health ministry said, ahead of fresh protests called for Wednesday.

Following Saturday’s unrest — which wounded dozens and left an Israeli police officer in critical condition — 32-year-old Palestinian Osama Khaled Deaih died after being shot by Israeli forces, the ministry said.

The Israeli army said it responded with live fire and other measures toPalestinian“rioters” who were hurling explosives over the border fence and attempting to scale it.

AFP’s story contains no mention of Dueij’s (English spelling varies) role in the terror organization.

In addition, the even more inadequate photo captions of Dueij’s funeral likewise omit the key point that he is terrorist belonging to Hamas’ Al Qassam Brigade.  They state: “Osama Deeij, who died of a wound he sustained during an anti-Israel protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence last week. . . . ” Not only do the captions ignore that he was a fighter in a designated terror organization, but also that the so-called “protests” were violent clashes in which participants tried to climb the border fence and threw explosives over it.

Palestinian mourners carry the body of Osama Deeij, who died of a wound he sustained during an anti-Israel protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence last week, during his funeral at Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip on August 25, 2021. MOHAMMED ABED / AFP

 

Relatives of Osama Deeij, who died of a wound he sustained during an anti-Israel protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence last week, mourn during his funeral at Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip on August 25, 2021. MOHAMMED ABED / AFP

 

Photo of Osama Dueij, published with Hamas’ announcement grieving his death (From the Hamas affiliated Shehab News Agency)

Hamas this morning issued an announcement mourning Dueij’s death, in which he is pictured in full Al-Aqsa Martyrs battle gear. In the photos of the funeral, Dueij is wrapped in a flag associated with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. 

The Associated Press story dedicated to Dueij’s death, published 8:16 am GMT this morning, also initially omitted Dueiji’s Hamas affiliation (“Palestinian shot by Israel in Gaza border clashes dies”). It began: 

A Palestinian man died Wednesday from a bullet wound suffered during clashes with Israeli forces last week along Gaza‘s border fence over the weekend, Palestinian health officials said.

Osama Dueij, 32, was shot in the leg on Saturday during a violent demonstration on the border. The Israeli military said demonstrators approached one area of the fence in northern Gaza and tried to climb over while throwing explosives at troops. In response, it said that troops fired tear gas and live rounds toward the protesters.

To their credit, however, editors later added the following information to the top of the story, as the second paragraph:
The Hamas militant group identified the man, Osama Dueji, 32, as a member of its armed wing and mourned him as a “heroic martyr.”
Also, a subsequent story by the news agency acknowledges Dueij’s Al Qassam affiliation: “Gaza’s ruling Hamas militant group identified him as a member of its armed wing” (“Gaza Palestinians resume demonstrations on Israeli border“).
Nevertheless, as of this writing, AP photo captions today about Dueij’s funeral  still fail to note that he was a member of Hamas’ military wing.

Palestinian mourners carry the body of Osama Dueij, 32, who was shot in the leg on Saturday during a violent demonstration on the northern border between Gaza and Israel, during his funeral in front of his family house in Jebaliya refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

Reuters captions, including one accompanying an image selected as an editor’s top pick, are likewise woefully inadequate. They refer to “Palestinian Osama Deeij, who died of a wound he sustained during an anti-Israel protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence on Saturday.” Not only do they neglect to acknowledge the essential point that Dueij was a member of Hamas’ military wing, but they also mischaracterize the violent clashes as “anti-Israel protest,” as if participants were doing nothing more nefarious than waving signs and shouting slogans.

The mother of Palestinian Osama Deeij, who died of a wound he sustained during an anti-Israel protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence on Saturday, reacts during his funeral in the northern Gaza Strip August 25, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Haaretz’s English language website today published an article relying on AP’s initial incomplete report on Dueij’s death, failing to note his role in the Al Qassam Brigade. The byline was AP and Haaretz. Following communication with Haaretz, editors commendably added this important information, providing more detail than AP’s updated story:

The Hamas militant group identified the man, Osama Dueji, 32, as a member of its armed wing and mourned him as a “heroic martyr.” Masked Hamas militants joined a funeral procession for Dueji in Gaza’s Jabaliya refugee camp. A photo of him dressed in military fatigues, a green Hamas headband and holding a rifle was released.

Aug. 27 Correction: This report initially misidentified Dueiji as a member of Hamas’ Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. In fact, he was a fighter with Hamas’ Al Qassam Brigade. The Al Aqsa Brigade is Fatah-affiliated.

This post was updated on Aug. 29 to include footage tweeted by analyst Joe Truzman showing Dueji at the violent clashes on the day he was fatally injured with a grenade in his hand.