Misleading AP Transforms Terrorists

Read the headline of this AP piece, "Israel Kills 3 Palestinians Near Gaza Border," and you'd be likely to think that it sounds like the typical AP account of any incident involving Israel and the Territories, right?

There is little question that the headline is meant to grab the attention of the reader by implying that Israel had killed 3 Palestinian civilians - otherwise, the copy editor would've used "militants." That headline ( Israel Kills 3 Militants Near Gaza Border ) doesn't sound as "sexy" from a news perspective since shooting terrorists is expected.

To boot, the news agency has established that they're militants, not terrorists. How sensitive of them.

When you read the story, you find that these "Palestinians" were actually terrorists from Islamic Jihad on their way to carry out an attack:

Israeli troops shot and killed three militants from the Islamic Jihad group near the Israel-Gaza border on Tuesday, as soldiers conducted house-to-house searches and made arrests elsewhere in the coast strip.

The Israeli army said soldiers opened fire after spotting what they considered suspicious men walking by a fence near the Kissufim crossing, carrying large bags.Tanks also fired in the direction of the three men, the army said.

No weapons were found near the bodies, but Palestinian security officials said the three had been sent to carry out an attack.

I noticed something else interesting. The AP says that they're militants in the lead graph, and then in the very next graph, uses the qualifying phrase " what they considered suspicious men," suggesting that what the Israeli army said is suspect . This is despite the fact that Palestinian security officials confirmed that the Israeli soldiers were indeed correct in determining that the three terrorists had been planning an attack in the very next paragraph.