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Gaza rocket launched during CBC interview

Some critics say media coverage of the Israel-Hamas conflict avoids broadcasting images of militant rocket fire at Israel. The CBC's Derek Stoffel explains why the accusation isn't true.

Critics say media refrain from broadcasting images of militant rocket fire toward Israel

While CBC's Derek Stoffel interviews northern Gaza resident Adnan Mohamed as he flees his house, a rocket is fired from Gaza into Israel 4:24

There has been criticism of the international media covering the war between Hamas and Israel in some circles, with accusations that news crews are not broadcasting images and sound of Gaza militants firing rockets toward Israel. 

Having spent much time inside Gaza during this conflict, I do not think that accusation is true. CBC News has certainly reported on militant rocket attacks through our coverage online, on radio and on television.

As the 72-hour ceasefire ended this morning, my camera operator Samer Shalabi and I were out in northern Gaza talking to residents who were once again fleeing their homes, anticipating renewed violence.

We were interviewing a man from the hard-hit neighbourhood of Beit Hanoun on camera when a rocket was fired. You see the smoke trail of the launch before we heard the sound of the projectile, causing our interviewee to react to the rocket fire. 

This particular rocket was fired from a good distance from where we were recording.

Samer, who knows Gaza very well, thinks militants would have launched it from somewhere in northern Gaza City. This is clearly a residential area. The hotel our crew stayed at during our last few Gaza assignments is in the same neighbourhood, and I've witnessed several rocket launches. 

I caught the tail end of one particular launch on July 25, from near the hotel. 

Here, two rockets are fired, again from somewhere the residential area near the hotel. 

There are several open areas in the vicinity of the hotel, including what some locals said was a weapons storage area for militants. That open area was hit by Israeli strikes on at least two occasions while I was at the hotel.

When it comes to working from an active war zone, whether it is outgoing rocket fire or incoming missile or artillery strikes, the key is to be rolling with your video camera or quick enough with your still camera.

It is much easier for a news crew to film Israeli tanks or artillery guns firing at Gaza targets, because the Israel Defence Forces generally allows videographers to shoot pictures while operations are underway. Hamas and the other militant groups certainly won't let us anywhere near their fighters, worried that would give away their locations. 

We asked Hamas for an interview, not with the usual spokespeople who are always available, but with the men who actually fire the rockets, dig the tunnels or take up arms. We were told they're not ready to talk to foreign reporters, just yet.

About the Author

Derek Stoffel

CBC News Middle East correspondent

Derek Stoffel is the Middle East correspondent for CBC News. He has covered the Arab Spring uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, reported from Syria during the ongoing civil war and covered the Israeli and Palestinian conflict. He has also worked throughout Europe and the U.S., and reported on Canada's military mission in Afghanistan.

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