Representatives of two armored vehicle manufacturers cast doubt on claims by Reuters that its armored vehicle had been struck by an Israeli air strike in Gaza.
Last week, Reuters condemned the IDF and demanded an investigation after it said one of its armored vehicles, containing a Palestinian journalist and a Reuters photographer, had been struck.
But experts from Inkas Armored Vehicle Manufacturing and First Defense International Group, both armored vehicle manufacturers, told the Confederate Yankee blog that
photographs of the damaged jeep were not consistent with the Reuters claim.
"I wanted support to prove or disprove these allegations, and so I went to the people who should know most about the kind of vehicles damaged in the attack, armored vehicle manufacturers themselves," the author of the Confederate Blog, Bob Owens wrote.
The jeep Reuters said was hit (Photo: AP)
David Khazanski, of Inkas Armored Vehicle Manufacturing, told Owens: "The damage on the vehicle was sustained a very long time ago, and probably not by the rocket, or it was already tampered with."
'Not consistent with missiles'
Chris Badsey, Chairman and CEO of armored vehicle manufacture First Defense International Group, analyzed the photo of the Reuters jeep. He told Owens: "Firstly as an armoring company we are familiar with all weapons, weapons damage, collateral damage and the destruction of armored vehicles from blasts and various types of rockets and ammunition. Secondly we are familiar with the Israeli weapons of choice and uses in the field as we continue to work with them and have a manufacturing relationship with them… In my expert opinion, the damage, the whole is NOT consistent of a Hellfire Missile or of a 70mm rocket nor any armored piercing/trajectory."
He added: "The damage to the roof looks to me very consistent with possible shrapnel penetration from an object other than a rocket or missile itself… The damage to the back window is certainly not consistent with any missile, bomb or rocket blast that would have occurred on impact if a rocket were fired around and directly at the vehicle."
"From what these experts tell me, it does not appear that the vehicle Reuters claimed was hit was hit either by a rocket or a missile, that the damage appears to be some time prior to the attack… Something damaged this Reuters armored vehicle, but when and how seems to be very much in doubt," Owens concluded.
At the time, the IDF said it fired on a suspicious vehicle, but added that it did not identify a press jeep in the area. "During the operation, there was an aerial attack on a suspicious vehicle that drove in a suspicious manner right by the forces and in between the Palestinian militant posts," army spokeswoman Captain Noa Meir said.
Other blogs have discussed other possibilites, with the Hot Air site
writing:"The leading alternate theory is that it was shrapnel. And yes, that’s an important distinction, although not as important as some might think. If a rocket hit the van, it proves that the IAF was aiming at it. If it was shrapnel, it suggests that they were aiming at something else, which would put the kibosh on hysterical claims that Israel is targeting the media."