Pro-Hezbollah media try to cast doubt on Israeli denial of casualties
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Video shows Hezbollah supporters celebrating missile attack

Pro-Hezbollah media try to cast doubt on Israeli denial of casualties

Other Lebanese outlets publish claim that IDF staged evacuation of ‘wounded’ soldiers; sources say Hezbollah has tape of attack

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Smoke rises near the community of Avivim following an anti-tank missile attack from Lebanon on September 1, 2019. (Courtesy)
Smoke rises near the community of Avivim following an anti-tank missile attack from Lebanon on September 1, 2019. (Courtesy)

Pro-Hezbollah news outlets on Monday highlighted the terror group’s claim that it killed and injured IDF soldiers in a missile attack Sunday afternoon, while casting doubt on Israeli declarations that there were no casualties in the incident.

A story leading the news site of the Hezbollah-sympathetic Al-Mayadeen TV on Monday morning, titled “The resistance carries out its promise,” repeated the Lebanese terror group’s assertion that its operatives destroyed a military vehicle, injuring and killing Israeli soldiers.

The article later mentioned that the IDF and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied that the attack caused injuries, but said their denial “did not last long” as photos of Israeli soldiers transporting injured people spread on social media.

Following the attack on Sunday, which Hezbollah had vowed it would carry out after Israel was blamed for strikes on the group in Syria and Lebanon, pictures and videos emerged on Hebrew and Arabic news sites and social media accounts of what appeared to be an IDF helicopter evacuating wounded soldiers near the border and those soldiers later arriving at Ramban Hospital in Haifa.

The photos initially appeared to suggest Hezbollah’s attack had injured and possibly killed soldiers, but sources told The Times of Israel on Sunday evening that the IDF had staged an evacuation of soldiers who were not actually injured.

A number of other Israeli news sites published similar reports.

A ‘wounded’ IDF soldier, in a staged evacuation, at the scene of an APC that was struck by a Hezbollah anti-tank missile on the Lebanon border on September 1, 2019. (Screen capture/Twitter)

The sources said Israel hoped that Hezbollah, thinking it had inflicted casualties, would conclude that it had retaliated sufficiently for the strikes in Lebanon and Syria and hold its fire.

Al-Mayadeen’s story made no explicit mention of the multiple reports in the Israeli press that the IDF had staged an evacuation of “wounded” Israeli soldiers.

Al-Mayadeen, in a separate article later Monday, quoted sources who claimed that it was impossible that the type of missile Hezbollah used in the attack did not kill and injure soldiers.

In the same report, the sources said that Hezbollah “is ready to publish a special tape of the operation when the leadership decides.”

The Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Manar TV featured a story on its website on Monday with the headline: “The enemy’s media accuses Netanyahu of lying and publishes videos of injured who belong to the army.”

The Al-Manar article included a video that it said was taken from the Israeli news site Ynet and appeared to show the helicopter evacuating wounded Israelis. Similar to al-Mayadeen, however, the Al-Manar story made no mention of the reports that Israel had staged the evacuation.

Al-Manar, meanwhile, published video footage of Hezbollah supporters celebrating the missile attack.

 

The pro-Hezbollah Al-Akhbar also featured Hezbollah’s statement that it killed and injured Israelis in an article placed prominently on its website on Monday. That report claimed that Israeli news sites had cast doubt on the IDF’s statement that no Israeli soldiers sustained wounds.

In line with Al-Mayadeen and Al-Manar, it also left out any reference to the Israeli reports that the IDF had deceived Hezbollah into believing it injured soldiers.

In contrast, a number of other Lebanese outlets wrote in their reports that Israel had carried out a staged evacuation of soldiers who pretended to be wounded.

The An-Nahar daily dedicated an entire article to the matter with the headline: “The Israeli narrative… here is how the army deceived Hezbollah.”

In its report, it stated that Israeli journalists reported that the evacuation operation was “illusionary and preconceived to make Hezbollah believe that casualties had fallen and the operation succeeded.”

The Al-Joumhouria newspaper also wrote an article about the Israeli reports that the army had fooled Hezbollah.

In its story, it stated that Israeli sources mentioned that the helicopter evacuation of wounded soldiers was “deception to put Hezbollah under the illusion its bombardment had succeeded.”

The Elnashra news site also wrote a report on the Israeli reports that the IDF had deceived Hezbollah.

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