Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Human Rights Watch Reports Qana Death Toll Was 28, Not 54. L.A. Times Sticks With the Higher Number.

Human Rights Watch, certainly no admirer of Israel, confirmed on Wednesday the implications of an International Red Cross press release noted previously in The Hedgehog Blog: The death toll at Qana was far lower than the "almost sixty" initially reported, and still repeated almost daily in the mainstream media. Human Rights Watch confirms 28 deaths, of which 16 were children. The basis for the initial reports:

"The initial estimate of 54 persons killed was based on a register of 63 persons who had sought shelter in the basement of the building that was struck, and rescue teams having located nine survivors. It now appears that at least 22 people escaped the basement, and 28 are confirmed dead, according to records from the Lebanese Red Cross and the government hospital in Tyre."

Apart from the question of why the press so unequivocally reported "nearly 60" deaths based solely on a building registry, one wonders how it happened that the 63 frightened civilians from two extended families who took shelter in the building were signed in on a registry as if they were checking into a hotel. Indeed, that is just one of many unanswered questions about what really happened in Qana, and it is unlikely that we will ever know the full story.

As I previously noted, the death of even one innocent child in warfare is a tragedy, much less the death of 16 children and 12 adults. Nonetheless, the number of 60 having been bandied about so freely, one wonders how long it will take the mainstream media to report the actual number of deaths.

Not surprisingly, our proud hometown newspaper, the Los Angeles Times, insists on adhering to the highest reported number of innocent people killed by the callous Israelis. Incredibly, in a news story posted Wednesday at 5:00 p.m., on the Israeli military inquiry into the incident, the Times again describes the incident as the "bombing of a building in the south Lebanese village of Qana that killed 56 civilians." It does so even though the very same story, at the end, makes mention of the Human Rights Watch press release. Just one more example of the Times' anti-Israel bias demontstrated here and here previously.


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