New York: A CNN journalist, Sara Sidner, has issued an apology after reporting unverified claims on live television, asserting that the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had confirmed the beheading of babies. She admitted to being misled by erroneous information.
In a public apology posted on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter), Sidner expressed her regret. She explained that she had made the statement after the Israeli Prime Minister’s office stated that they had verified allegations of Hamas beheading babies and children while she was live on air. However, she emphasized that the Israeli government later retracted this confirmation, saying they could not confirm such incidents. Sidner acknowledged her responsibility for not being more cautious with her choice of words and offered her apologies.
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 false claims regarding the beheading of children at the Kfar Aza kibbutz began to circulate when a live broadcast by the Israeli news channel i24News mentioned the discovery of “babies, their heads cut off” among those found after the Israeli army’s recapture of the kibbutz. These claims quickly proliferated through international media and social networks.
It is worth noting that even US President Joe Biden commented on the reports, stating that he “never really thought that I would see, have confirmed pictures of terrorists beheading children.” However, the White House later contradicted his remarks, pointing out that “President Joe Biden and other US officials have not seen or independently confirmed that Hamas terrorists beheaded Israeli children.”
This incident occurred in the midst of escalating violence between Israel and Hamas. Israel conducted indiscriminate bombings and imposed a siege on the Gaza Strip, resulting in the destruction of entire districts and the tragic loss of over 2,750 Palestinian lives, including more than 700 children while around 10,000 Palestinians have been injured. Reportedly 1,300 Israelis have also died in this conflict.
In preparation for a possible ground offensive, Israel has urged Gaza’s 1.1 million residents in the northern part of the strip to relocate southward, raising concerns about potential ethnic cleansing efforts.