ABC Journalist Labelled Baby Beheading Claims In Israel-Hamas Conflict “Bullshit”

ABC Journalist Labelled Baby Beheading Claims In Israel-Hamas Conflict “Bullshit”

The ABC’s Middle Eastern correspondent Tom Joyner labelled  reports about babies being beheaded by Hamas in Israel as “bullshit” in a WhatsApp group with hundreds of international journalists and broadcasters.

In now-deleted comments, Joyner wrote that he did not believe the stories presented by Israeli news outlets, a spokesman for Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel Defence Force soldiers and even US President Joe Biden were simply untrue.

“The story about the babies is bullshit,” he wrote to the journalists who were sharing information about the conflict in messages seen by The Australian.

After meeting the ire of fellow group members, Joyner apologised for his wording and said he regretted his choice of words. However, he pushed back and said that there had been no unequivocal proof from the IDF or Netanyahu that babies had been beheaded by Hamas.

The ABC’s Tom Joyner

Nicole Zedek,  a correspondent for privately owned Israeli news channel i24NEWS reported apparently first-hand testimony from soldiers.

“Some soldiers say they found babies with their heads cut off, entire families gunned down in their beds,” she said.

“About 40 babies and young children have been taken out on gurneys – so far.”’

Zedek also said in a TV interview that soldiers had told of the atrocities they had witnessed.

“As I was speaking to some of the soldiers, one of the deputy commanders who was first on the scene to arrive to this massacre on Saturday, he said that with his own eyes he witnessed children with their heads cut off by these masked terrorists,” Zedek said.

However, An IDF spokesperson, Doron Spielman, told NBC News on Tuesday that he could not confirm i24NEWS’s report.

President Biden made his claim on Wednesday but the White House later clarified that Biden was referring to news reports about beheadings, which have not included or referred to photographic evidence.

On Friday, Israel confirmed reports of babies being burnt and decapitated in Hamas’s assault on the Kfar Aza kibbutz and that photos were shown to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his visit to Israel on Thursday by the Public Diplomacy Directorate in the Prime Minister’s Office. Tal Heinrich, spokesman for the Israel leader, also confirmed the brutality.

“Toddlers, babies’ heads were cut off,” he said.

It also posted images of dead and burned babies on X. You can view those here, though, be warned, you may find this content upsetting and disturbing. No photos of beheaded babies have been made public.

At the time when Joyner made the comments, however, no evidence had been made publicly available. The claims made on i24NEWS were impossible to verify, for example, and the White House and the IDF later clarified claims made by its leaders.

This story demonstrates how difficult war reporting is and how emotionally charged on both sides the violence is.




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