CNN reporter apologizes for defending Israeli claims that Hamas beheaded babies
'I needed to be more careful with my words and I am sorry,' says Sara Sidner
CNN reporter Sara Sidner issued an apology after defending Israel's claims that Hamas beheaded babies during last weekend's attack on a live broadcast, acknowledging that the reports were not confirmed.
"Yesterday the Israeli Prime Minister's office said that it had confirmed Hamas beheaded babies & children while we were live on the air. The Israeli government now says today it CANNOT confirm babies were beheaded. I needed to be more careful with my words and I am sorry.," Sidner wrote Thursday on X.
Yesterday the Israeli Prime Minister's office said that it had confirmed Hamas beheaded babies & children while we were live on the air. The Israeli government now says today it CANNOT confirm babies were beheaded. I needed to be more careful with my words and I am sorry. https://t.co/Yrc68znS1S— Sara Sidner (@sarasidnerCNN) October 12, 2023
"The words I used were the PM's office must have proof if they are confirming this. Then President Biden confirmed seeing it. And then backed tracked," she added.
Following the apology, Sidner faced criticism online, prompting a response from a user who commented on the need for more civility in online discussions.
"People don't have to be so nasty on here to Sara,” said the user. “Unfortunately, the 'net can be a place where misjudgments are prematurely made and shared with others.”
"I would argue we were mislead. I am going to report on what heads of governments say. That is what new orgs do. It doesn’t mean it’s true but it’s news they said it & had to retract it. In that same report I noted Hamas denied the acts," Sidner responded.
CNN reported separately Thursday that the Israeli government has not confirmed the claim that Hamas fighters cut off the heads of babies during the attack Saturday, citing an Israeli official.
Israeli forces launched a sustained and forceful military campaign against the Gaza Strip in response to a military offensive by the Palestinian group Hamas in Israeli territories.
The conflict began Saturday when Hamas initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood -- a multi-pronged surprise attack including a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel via land, sea and air.
Hamas said the operation was in retaliation for the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem and Israeli settlers’ growing violence against Palestinians.
The Israeli military then launched Operation Swords of Iron against Hamas targets within the Gaza Strip.
That response has extended into cutting water and electricity supplies to Gaza, further worsening the living conditions in an area that has reeled under a crippling siege since 2007.
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