An Italian journalist operating in Gaza corroborated Israel's account of an errant Hamas rocket strike on a Gaza school playground on Monday, according to an Israel National News report. At least 10 people were killed, mostly children, in the Shati refugee camp school. Israel was immediately accused; however, it insisted that Hamas rockets caused the death and destruction.
Returning from Gaza and presumably safe from potential "Hamas retaliation," journalist Gabriele Barbati tweeted confirmation that Hamas terrorists quickly tried to cover up evidence of its errant rocket strike.
A Wall Street Journal reporter, Tamer El-Ghobashi, tweeted evidence confirming a Hamas rocket struck Gaza's main hospital. El-Ghobashi deleted the tweet shortly after.
Hamas had as many as 10,000 rockets when Operation Protective Edge began three weeks ago. It has fired nearly 3,000 at Israeli civilians since then, and Israeli military officials say they have destroyed thousands more. Though as many as 5,000 remain, increasing reports indicate that a greater volume of rockets are falling short and landing in Gaza.
Reporting objectively in Gaza is extremely difficult for foreign journalists who are increasingly subjected to Hamas threats. Western journalists operating in Gaza have been threatened and harassed by Hamas for reporting instances of the terrorist groups' use of human shields. Israeli officials have noted that some reporters are intimidated by the terrorist organization and have ceased documenting Hamas' exploitation of civilians throughout the conflict. Some journalists even experience Hamas interrogation and are forced to backtrack their reporting if deemed too critical of Hamas. Other journalists have been forced to leave the Gaza Strip. It is not clear if Barbati will be allowed to return to Gaza for further reporting.
This type of atmosphere prevents journalists from doing their jobs and disseminating critical information out to the rest of the world. The lack of freedom afforded to Gaza based journalists contributes to Hamas' narrative of the conflict, which frequently dominates international and Western media outlets.