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BBC apologizes after ‘incorrect’ report stated Israeli troops targeted Gaza medical team

BBC apologizes after ‘incorrect’ report stated Israeli troops targeted Gaza medical team

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The BBC apologized Wednesday after an anchor misquoted a Reuters report, mistakenly saying during a live broadcast that Israel’s military siege and raid of a Gaza hospital targeted medical staff and Arabic speakers, prompting outcry from some Jewish groups.

The Reuters report quoted an IDF spokesperson saying, “Our medical teams and Arabic speaking soldiers are on the ground to ensure that these supplies reach those in need.”

The news anchor said that the Israeli military was “targeting people including medical teams as well as Arab speakers” in Gaza’s Al Shifa hospital, a misquote of the Reuters report.

Another anchor later read out an on-air apology and the BBC issued a correction on its website. “What we should have said is that IDF forces included medical staff and Arabic speakers for this operation,” said the news anchor. “We apologize for this error, which fell below our usual editorial standards.”

In the same Reuters story, it reported Israeli troops were searching rooms and the basement areas in Al-Shifa during a siege, causing “global alarm.” Israeli officials have claimed Hamas is operating from the hospital.

Thousands of Palestinians have sheltered in Al-Shifa hospital, Gaza’s biggest hospital, from Israeli airstrikes and its ground operations. In recent days, conditions at Al-Shifa have deteriorated quickly, with operations grinding to a halt without fuel to keep generators going and electricity on after Israel imposed a complete siege on the Strip after the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, cutting off fuel, water, electricity and water to 2.2 million people. Premature babies, among other patients, have died in recent days without being able to power life saving equipment, according to the UN.

Doctors Without Borders called on Saturday what was happening at Al-Shifa “a catastrophic situation.”

After the initial report, the Board of Deputies of British Jews called out the BBC, saying it was “absolutely appalled” by the BBC footage misquoting the Reuters report and asked for a public apology from the broadcaster. “At best this shows a staggering lack of care when reporting on a highly volatile situation, which can have a knock-on effect all over the world, including in Britain, where antisemitic attacks have risen by more than 500% since Oct. 7,” it said in a statement.

UN relief chief Martin Griffiths on Wednesday said on X he was “appalled” by Israel’s raid of Al-Shifa: “Hospitals are not battlegrounds,” he stated, adding, “the protection of newborns, patients, medical staff and all civilians must override all other concerns.”

In October, the BBC admitted one of its reporters was wrong to “speculate” on what caused a large explosion at Al-Ahli Arab hospital’s parking lot, when the reporter speculated the explosion came from an Israeli strike, adding “it’s hard to see what else it could be.” Israel denied its involvement, with both the U.S. and Israel later stating a misfired rocket, saying it likely came from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

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