A group of 91 victims of Hizbullah-fired Katyusha missiles in the Second Lebanon War have filed a $1.2 billion lawsuit in a U.S. federal court, charging that the Qatar-based Al Jazeera network’s war coverage aided the terrorist group.
The plaintiffs are family members who were wounded or are relatives of victims of the rockets that rained down on northern Israel for 34 days in the summer of 2006. The Kaplan vs. Al Jazeera suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
Attorney for the plaintiffs, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, stated, “Al-Jazeera made itself a crucial component of the Hizbullah missile offensive. The intent was to assist the terrorists in targeting and killing civilians. Without the assistance of Al-Jazeera’s on-the-ground spotters, Hizbullah would have been unable to accurately aim its missiles into Israeli cities. Al-Jazeera, which has offices in New York, aided and abetted Hizbullah terrorism and is responsible for the injuries suffered by the victims of these attacks.”
The team of lawyers who filed the suit for the victims charged that “Al-Jazeera intentionally reported live coverage of the locations of the missile strikes inside of Israel in violation of military censorship regulations, in order to enable Hizbullah to aim the missiles more accurately.
“Al-Jazeera camera crews in Israel during the war were repeatedly detained by the Israeli police for broadcasting real-time information regarding the location of missile strikes, which Hizbullah utilized to more accurately aim their missiles at civilian population centers.”
Israel has reprimanded Al Jazeera several times for its pro-Hamas coverage and for a short time prohibited government officials from speaking with reporters of the huge satellite network.
Al Jazeera previously has been the target of a U.S. complaint that its coverage is anti-American and that it describes Arab suicide bombers as “martyrs.”
The spokesman in 2006 for the U.S. Defense Department, Lt. Col Dodd Vician, stated, “Anyone, even an American living in the Middle East watching a network like Al Jazeera day after day after day, would begin to believe that America was bad just based on the biased, one-sided coverage.”