Friday, April 18, 2008

The Reuters photographer case gets curiouser

Many of the Palestinian Arab claims about how Reuters' photographer Fadel Shana were killed are getting more and more inconsistent.

Snapped Shot takes a critical look at the still photos of the scene and notices that things are not adding up.

Israellycool points out that the photographer had been involved himself in a fishy fauxtography incident in Lebanon two years ago.

And now Israel is not accepting responsibility for the attack:
THE Israeli Defence Force says it does not admit responsibility for killing a Reuters TV cameraman who died in the Gaza Strip moments after he filmed a tank firing in his direction....An Israeli military official expressed sorrow but said the IDF did not accept responsibility for the killing. The official said that Israeli forces had only fired at armed militants who were shooting at them from close range. It did not know what kind of missile had struck the press vehicle, and it was unaware of reports of a second attack minutes later. The incident is being investigated, the official said.
"Not accepting responsibility" is no the same as "denying," and I am skeptical that a Palestinian Arab missile or anti-tank gun hit Shana at the same time one would expect the Israeli tank shell he filmed to have hit somewhere.

What seems most unlikely though is the PalArab claim that he was killed by a flechette:
A medical examination yesterday revealed that metal darts from a tank shell that explodes in the air killed Shana. X-rays showed several of the controversial weapons, known as flechettes, in his chest and legs. Several of the three-centimetre darts were also in his flak jacket and vehicle.
There is nothing in the photographic evidence that points to this. As my commenter Tom W. points out:
The Palestinians claim that the cameraman was killed by a flechette round, which contains 5000 steel darts and is used at close ranges.

Here is a Reuters video:


At 1:23 you can see that the windshield is shattered, but the hood is absolutely untouched. Also, the driver's door is torn off.

This type of damage is entirely inconsistent with what a flechette round would do.

Whatever happened, the Palestinians are lying about the type of munition fired.
So far, to me I think that it was an errant Israeli tank round that killed him, but I do not believe any reports of a second strike two minutes later by Israel and I think there was at the very least some staging of the scene by people at the scene and certainly some lying by the Palestinian Arab medical examiners, who have been known to lie in the past.

See also Israel Matzav's wrap-up.