The UK’s BBC news corporation has admitted mistakes were made in its coverage of a deadly blast Tuesday at a hospital parking lot in Gaza City, which many global media outlets attributed to Israel based on the Hamas terror group’s accusation, before mounting evidence emerged that a misfired Palestinian rocket was to blame and that the death toll is far smaller than the initially claimed 500.
US and European sources have now said the actual death toll is presumed to be in the dozens or lower hundreds.
A BBC correspondent, Jon Donnison, said on air after the explosion that he could see no possibility other than an Israeli airstrike as the cause. The following morning, footage of the site quickly led many observers to note that the lack of a large crater and the lack of structural damage to nearby buildings made it highly unlikely it had been an airstrike.
In a statement carried by British media, the chief of journalism at BBC says Donnison “was wrong to speculate about the cause of the explosion of the hospital. At no stage did he actually say it was caused by the Israelis… but nonetheless, when the impression is left that we’ve speculated, [it] is important to correct that which we’ve done.”
“Somewhere along the line, human beings are going to make a mistake on a bit of output and when it gets magnified and is used as an example of getting things wrong, it’s a very uncomfortable place to be,” he adds. “And of course, it shouldn’t have happened and we need to make sure that we’re doubling down on… [keeping] our language absolutely accurate.”
The corporation, however, indicates it will continue to avoid referring to Hamas as a terror group, a refusal that has drawn growing outcry from Israeli officials and supporters.