We have eagerly awaited Michelle Malkin’s report on her efforts to check out the AP’s story on the burning of the Sunnis and Sunni mosques, reported by the AP courtesy of Jamil Hussein. Today’s New York Post carries Michelle’s report: “Destroyed — not.” Subhead: “Lurid AP report on Iraq outrage doesn’t check out.” Michelle’s related post including photographs is here. Michelle reports:
WE obtained summary reports and photos filed at the time by Iraqi and U.S. Army troops on the scene. They contain no corroborating evidence of Hussein’s claim that “Shiite militiamen grabbed six Sunnis as they left Friday worship services, doused them with kerosene and burned them alive near Iraqi soldiers who did not intervene.”
One of the mosques identified by the AP, the Nidaa Alah mosque, had been abandoned and vacant at the time it was hit with small-arms fire, say Iraqi and U.S. Army officials. Two of its inside rooms were burned out by a lobbed firebomb, according to an Army report.
Three other mosques in the area – the al Muhaymin, al Mushahiba and Ahbab Mustafa mosques – sustained small-arms fire damage to their exteriors; the Mustafa mosque also had two rooms burned out by a firebomb.
Contrary to Hussein and the AP’s account, military reports note that Iraqi Army battalion members were on the scene – pursuing attackers, securing the area, calling the fire department, providing support and an outer cordon.
Neither The New York Times nor The Washington Post was able to confirm AP’s story.
Capt. Aaron Kaufman of Task Force Justice, which works closely with the Iraqi Army battalion that was on the scene and monitored events as they happened, told us: “It was blown way out of proportion, there was nobody lit on fire.”
Capt. Stacy Bare, the civil-affairs officer who took us on patrol in Hurriya, concurred: “There were no six Sunnis burned.”
JOHN adds: Here is a photo of one of the four mosques that “Jamil Hussein” reported had been “destroyed,” “torched” and “burned and [blown] up.”
To my knowledge, the AP has not used “Jamil Hussein” as a source since the “burning Sunni” story came under scrutiny. Why? If the AP now recognizes that the story was wrong, why hasn’t it issued a correction? “Jamil Hussein” has been a source for more than 60 AP stories, most of them on events that (like the ones at issue here) did not take place in the precinct where he reportedly works. Has the AP investigated to determine whether the information it got from “Hussein” in those 60-plus instances was accurate? If so, what has it found? If not, why not?
The AP, it seems to me, has a considerable amount of explaining to do.
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