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{Originally posted to BBC Watch website}

On May 3rd terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired shots across the border at an Israeli military vehicle. The next day cross-border incidents continued with five separate mortar attacks on Israeli troops which were claimed by both Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In the evening the Israeli airforce responded with strikes on Hamas installations in the Gaza Strip.  On May 5th an additional mortar attack raised the number of cross border incidents to seven in less than 48 hours and further incidents which took place later in the day brought the number of attacks into double figures. On the same day the IDF announced that it had discovered a cross border attack tunnel – the second to be detected in less than a month.

None of the above was reported at the time on the BBC News website.

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As the mortar attacks against IDF soldiers dealing with the newly discovered tunnel continued, the IDF retaliated with artillery fire and according to Palestinian media reports, a woman was killed near Khan Yunis.

In the early hours of May 6th the BBC News website published a report with the context-free headline “Israel tank fire kills Gaza woman, medics say.

Readers of the report found the background story presented in qualified terms, using the BBC’s standard ‘Israel says’ formula.

“Israel said it was responding to mortar rounds fired by Hamas fighters.”

“The army said attacks by the militants were targeting Israeli forces searching for tunnels in the border area.”

Only in the tenth paragraph did the BBC get round to describing the context to the headlined incident in its own words – but its portrayal inaccurately described the cross-border attacks as having begun a day later than is actually the case and failed to adequately clarify to readers that the violence was initiated by Palestinian terrorists.

“Since Wednesday, Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups have fired guns and mortar rounds across the border, and the Israeli air force has carried out bombing raids.

The exchange of attacks continued on Friday.”

BBC reporting of the discovery of the latest cross-border attack tunnel is limited to 35 words in two paragraphs:

“The clashes came after Israel said it had discovered a new tunnel reaching into Israel from Gaza.

Israeli army spokesman Lt Col Peter Lerner said the tunnel was about 30 metres (100ft) below the surface.”

On the evening of May 6th the attacks from the Gaza Strip escalated when terrorists fired missiles at Israeli civilian communities in the Eshkol region near the border. The BBC’s article was not updated to include that information and no additional report on that incident was published.

Since the beginning of the year the BBC News website has failed to report on any of the missile attacks on Israeli civilian communities by terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

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