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Indian reporter posts backstory to viral rocket video

NDTV reporter Sreenivasan Jain, whose video of Hamas operatives assembling and firing rockets from a civilian area went viral, writes an article with more information on the incident:

“We had all of it on tape, but wrestled with the dilemma of what to do with it. Two considerations weighed on our mind. One, the fear which hobbles the reporting such material: fear of reprisals from Hamas against us and those who worked with us, fear of inviting an Israeli response on the spot (these have been known to miss). Two, we needed to be 100 % sure that this was a rocket launch site. So we did nothing, setting off on our assignment for the day, mulling over the material in our possession.

“The next morning was meant to be our last in Gaza, and the day when a 72-hour ceasefire was meant to bring some relief to the area. As we woke early to pack – stealing tense glances at the ‘rocket’ patch – the final step was enacted. With minutes left for the ceasefire to kick in, flurries of Hamas rockets were fired. At about 7:52 am, this patch of earth was activated; the rockets took off with a bang and a plume of smoke. We managed to catch it on video just seconds after. By then the men who assembled it had long gone.

“We knew then we had to air the story. For us to have filmed how a rocket was assembled next to us, on a site used twice to launch a rocket, endangering the lives of all those around us on two occasions -to not have reported it would have been simply wrong. But we did take precautions – we aired the report a good five hours after the rocket was launched, well into the ceasefire. By then it was clear that Israel was not responding, at least for the period of the ceasefire. (Incidentally, given Israel’s extensive surveillance of rockets launched from the Gaza Strip it hardly seems they would need the media to point out to them where rockets are fired from.)

“There was the question of possible reprisal by Hamas; to this one, there are no easy answers other than to ask: how long do we self-censor because of the fear of personal safety in return for not telling a story that exposes how those launching rockets are putting so many more lives at risk, while the rocket-makers themselves are at a safe distance? More so when we have rare, first hand proof of how it works?”

Read the full account here.

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