Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90
Workers at Al Jazeera's offices in Jerusalem, June 13, 2017.

The Qatar-based Al Jazeera news channel has quietly removed a libelous fabricated story accusing Israeli soldiers of raping Arab women in Gaza, a day after it went viral on social media.

The glaring about-face from the state-run mouthpiece comes amid an intense war of narratives being played out in the global media as Israel’s war against Hamas rages for its sixth month, and follows largely underreported or ignored testimonies of Israeli women raped and otherwise sexually assaulted during the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre.


The story, which spread like wildfire over the last 24 hours on social media in the Arab world and beyond, accused Israeli soldiers of raping Gazan women during their ongoing military operation against hundreds of Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists held up at Gaza’s main hospital.

“It was revealed through Hamas investigations that the story of the rape of women in Al-Shifa Hospital was fabricated,” tweeted Al Jazeera columnist and former director Yasser Abuhilalah. “The woman who spoke about rape justified her exaggeration and incorrect talk by saying that the goal was to arouse the nation’s fervor and brotherhood.”

The original story published by Al Jazeera featured “testimony” by a Gaza woman named Jamila al-Hessi who claimed that while she was under siege in the area of the hospital complex, she witnessed IDF soldiers “raping women then killing them and burning entire families alive.”

A pro-Hamas preacher from Gaza, Jihad Khelles, also tweeted that it became evident that there was no evidence of these alleged events and that the “witness” told a story that she had heard and not witnessed.

Al-Hessi, who was interviewed live on Al Jazeera, alleged that she had witnessed women being raped, kidnapped and killed during the incursion, describing what the incident as “more than an action film.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz responded to the report, writing on X: “Look surprised, the Palestinians fabricate stories of rape to incite antisemitism. [U.N. Secretary General] António Guterres, I’m sure that’s sad for you to hear, but that’s the reality.”

Al Jazeera was founded with the financial backing of the Qatari royal family and has served for decades as a mouthpiece for the regime, which provides asylum for the leaders of Hamas, a group designated as a terror organization by the United States, Canada, the European Union, Israel and other nations.

The Arabic-language network is notorious for its anti-Israel reporting, antisemitic rhetoric and Holocaust denial, even as its English outlet has sought to offer a veneer of objectivity to Western viewers through some high-profile international anchors.

Last month, the Israel Defense Forces exposed two Al Jazeera reporters as Hamas terrorists, after earlier disclosing that additional journalists worked as operatives for the Islamic terror group.

Israel’s government has also moved to shutter the Al Jazeera offices in Israel. However, the initiative, which is backed by the Mossad and the Israeli Foreign Ministry, was never brought to the Security Cabinet, a move necessary to enact the ban.


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