CBS Calls Hamas Terrorist ‘Victim’ of Airstrikes, Israelis ‘Claim’ to Warn Hamas Leaders

On Friday’s The Early Show on CBS, correspondent Mark Phillips oddly used the word "victim" to describe one of the Hamas leaders, Nizar Rayan, who was killed in his home by Israeli airstrikes. He also seemed to treat with skepticism the Israeli military’s announcement that they make phone calls to some Hamas leaders to warn them in advance of airstrikes as he relayed that Israelis "claim" to do so. Phillips further declared that Israelis "admit" that they are targeting Hamas leaders, as if doing so were something to be ashamed of. Phillips: "The number of victims now well over 400. But there is one victim who's being talked about more than any other, and he is the one the Israelis say they targeted deliberately. Not only do the Israelis admit they are targeting Hamas leaders, they claim they are actually calling them on the phone to warn them the bombs are coming. If true, it is certainly an unconventional tactic, which the Israelis say allows potential targets to choose whether to take cover."

The CBS correspondent also described Rayan in relatively mild terms as "deeply ideological." But he did make one quip at the Hamas member’s expense: that, after Rayan recently declared that "God promised victory or martyrdom," he "found out which." Phillips: "He was one of Hamas's most deeply ideological leaders. He not only advocated suicide bomb attacks, he is said to have sent his own son out on one. This used to be his house. Gaza officials say Rayan, two of his four wives and seven of his children died here. A day before his death, Rayan appeared on Hamas TV, saying God promised victory or martyrdom. He found out which."

Below is a complete transcript of the story from the Friday, January 2, The Early Show on CBS:

JEFF GLOR: Israel's air campaign in Gaza is now in its seventh day and there is no sign right now it will end soon. This morning Israeli aircraft struck the home of about 20 Hamas militants and leveled a mosque said to be storing weapons. CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips is near the Israel/Gaza border this morning. Mark, good morning to you.

MARK PHILLIPS: Good morning, Jeff. Well, I'm actually standing at the border crossing, this airline terminal-style building where this morning the Israelis have been allowing foreign nationals in Gaza to leave. These are usually the relatives, wives or children of Gazans who are having to stay behind, of course. This is all continuing, as you say, as the bombing is as well. The number of victims now well over 400. But there is one victim who's being talked about more than any other, and he is the one the Israelis say they targeted deliberately. Not only do the Israelis admit they are targeting Hamas leaders, they claim they are actually calling them on the phone to warn them the bombs are coming. If true, it is certainly an unconventional tactic, which the Israelis say allows potential targets to choose whether to take cover. Nizar Rayan apparently didn't. He was one of Hamas's most deeply ideological leaders. He not only advocated suicide bomb attacks, he is said to have sent his own son out on one. This used to be his house. Gaza officials say Rayan, two of his four wives and seven of his children died here. A day before his death, Rayan appeared on Hamas TV, saying God promised victory or martyrdom. He found out which. Hamas has vowed revenge, and it continues to launch rockets into Israel. Yigal Levi was out working when the rocket fell on his house. He lost his home, but not his support for this fight.

YIGAL LEVI, ISRAELI RESIDENT: A hundred percent. I think you have to stop, you know, this thing, once and for all.

PHILLIPS: And that still may involve the Israeli ground troops poised around Gaza. In fear of the much threatened ground attack, foreigners in Gaza have been given the chance to leave, and many of them are taking it. And perhaps a couple of hundred foreigners have, in fact, left, leaving their loved ones behind to who knows what fate. Jeff?

GLOR: All right. CBS's Mark Phillips. Mark, thank you.