The list of bogus news stories coming out of Iraq keeps growing… This is the latest…
By Jason Keyser
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
BAGHDAD — Insurgents attacked a police station south of Baghdad under cover of darkness Sunday, killing 22 Iraqi police and soldiers, police said. Gunmen seized four Egyptians technicians in Baghdad in the second kidnapping of foreigners in the Iraqi capital within a week. …
Fourteen attackers also died in the clash that broke out about 10:30 p.m. in Mahawil, 50 miles south of Baghdad, police Capt. Muthana Khalid Ali said. The dead included five Iraqi national guardsmen and 17 policemen, he said.
U.S. command spokeswoman Capt. Patricia Brewer said no attack occurred, citing provincial authorities. American troops are stationed in the northern part of Babil province. Efforts to contact Capt. Ali were unsuccessful and the operations room of the Babil provincial police command was not answering its phone.
According to CENTCOM the attack on the police station never occurred and neither did the reported 1 hour firefight.
How did the AP (and others) make the mistake? Well, for starters, they were not there. The byline reads Baghdad. So they are reporting from the hotel room again.
Then, they ran with a single source and did not even slow down long enough to check with CENTCOM. Even in the second story I linked, the reporter still seems to be clinging to the original version, only begrudgingly admitting it might be fantasy.
Postscript: It is a breaking story and the first version of the story may yet prove to be right… (though it is doubtful)
If it does turn out to be true however, that does not vindicate the reporter, it only shows he got lucky. For their part, CENTCOM is strongly denying it.