The Incredible Re-Burning Car of Rafah

The Israeli military was busy Tuesday evening in the Rafha refugee
camp in Gaza, striking two separate vehicles driven by Hamas activists,
according to the Beeb:

Three Hamas militants have been killed in two Israeli air strikes on cars in Rafah, southern Gaza, Palestinian officials said.

The first attack killed an activist from Hamas' military wing and
hurt his companion. Dozens of bystanders were also hurt, Palestinian
doctors said.

Two Hamas militants were killed in a second strike on a car in Rafah.

Israeli forces have been carrying out raids and air strikes on Gaza after the capture of an Israeli soldier in June.

Hundreds of Palestinians have since been killed by Israeli action.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said the first of the two strikes on
Tuesday targeted militants who were planning an attack on Israel.

"After the aerial attack, there were a number of explosions, proving
that the vehicle was carrying explosives," the spokeswoman said.

Photographers from the Associated Press and Reuters were quick to converge upon the two cars, as captured in Yahoo's "Gaza" photostream.

AP's Khalil Hamra captured two photos
of the vehicle I've dubbed "Car 1," a white vehicle absent all easily
identifiable signs of its doors, roof, and even roof pillars.



The exposed steering wheel and beveled hood, which is apparent in
the second photo, are also useful identifiers, as are the rather plain
wheels. It is also perhaps worth noting the surroundings of the photo,
which shows an audience of many men in paramilitary attire identified
as Hamas-led Palestinian Authority's security forces, in a very
well-lit and back-lit area.

The second vehicle hit in Israeli air strikes I've dubbed "Car 2,"
but you may wish to refer to it as the "Incredible Re-Burning Car," or
"IRC" for short, for reasons that will shortly become apparent.

Reuters photographer Ibraheem Abu Mustafa, provides us with this photo and caption:


Palestinians help with rescue work on a car as water is sprayed to
douse flames following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah camp in the
southern Gaza Strip September 5, 2006. Israeli airstrikes killed four
Palestinian militants in Gaza on Wednesday, the Israeli military and
witnesses said, ratcheting up violence in the coastal strip further.

Please note that the vehicle fire appears to have been doused at
this point. Also note that the door pillar extending over the passenger
compartment is somewhat intact, as it a battered driver's side door,
the roof-supporting column behind the driver's door, and the rear door
on the driver's side, which has blown (or perhaps, looking the two sets
of hands on it, pushed) upward and inward.

Also please note the five-spoke wheel, the deformed hood, and the
dark mark on the left front quarterpanel, which I estimate to be
perhaps 3-4 inches from the back of the panel, and roughly eight inches
down from the top of the panel. It is worth noting that the crowd
make-up in this photo is exclusively civilian in nature, and that the
only readily apparent source of light is from the camera's flash, if
for no other reason than to firmly establish that the first two photos
are a distinctly separate even than the second pair of photos.

And now, a miraculous AP photo and caption of the exact same vehicle... well, not quite.


Palestinians gather around the burning wreckage of a car destroyed in
an apparent Israeli airstrike in the Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza
Strip, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2006.Three Palestinians were killed and 12
wounded late Tuesday in explosions, at least one of them the result of
an Israeli airstrike, Palestinians and the Israeli military said.

Suddenly this car, still readily identifiable by its five-spoke
wheel, deformed hood and dark quarterpanel mark, has burst into flame, after
the door pillar extending over the passenger compartment, the battered
driver's side door, the roof-supporting column behind the driver's
door, and the rear door on the driver's side have all been removed or
pulled down.

Perhaps there are other alternative explanations, but it appears to
my eye that parts of the vehicle were pulled out of the way and the car
reignited between the time the Reuters photographer took the first
picture of this vehicle and the unnamed AP photographer took the far
more dramatic second photo. Either that, or the order of the photos are
reversed, and these fine resident mechanics and body shop fabricators
of Gaza were already well on the way towards reconstructing the car
before it was even removed from the scene.

I'll let you decide which scenario is more likely. For what it's worth, I don't think, nor am I trying to imply, that the media was complicit in what appears to have transpired.

Cross-posted at Confederate Yankee.