Saturday, July 16, 2005
Terrorist at journalists' party.
TEL AVIV - Close buddies? Top terrorist Zakaria Zubeidi made a “guest appearance” in a video prepared by the staff of Reuters news agency in Israel and the Palestinian Authority as a “going away” gift for a colleague, Ynetnews has learned.
Zubeidi, who heads Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in Jenin, has been named by security officials as a key figure in organizing terror attacks on Israeli civilians.
Zubeidi’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades have claimed responsibility for more than 300 terror acts in the last five years.
A Reuters spokeswoman confirmed the video’s existence, but said the London-based news organization is “not associated with any group or faction in any conflict.”
The screening, which occurred in a Jerusalem restaurant last March, involved the showing of a video during a private party.
"The video's theme was what Israel would be like in 10 years," said an Israeli government official who attended the party and viewed the video.
"All of a sudden, at the end, there is Zakaria Zubeidi, playing the head of Reuters. Zubeidi was sitting in Reuters' Jenin office, saying he was Reuters’ chief,” the official said.
The party included guests from the BBC, ITN, the Independent newspaper, and French journalists.
"They all thought the video was hilarious," the official said. He added that only a few individuals did not seem amused during the screening.
"They were laughing; they thought it was very funny, he said.”
Reuters spokeswoman Susan Allsopp said in a statement to Ynetnews that the film “was a spoof video put together for a departing member of staff by a few of his colleagues in Israel and the Palestinian territories. It was shown at a private farewell party and was meant to be humorous.
“As soon as editorial management in Jerusalem became aware of the video they told the staff involved that Reuters found it to be inappropriate and in poor taste,” the statement said. “The member of staff for whom the party had been held has never met Mr. Zubeidi. Reuters would like to make it clear that it is not associated with any group or faction in any conflict.”