NBC News is sending foreign correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin back to Gaza days after he was abruptly and mysteriously pulled from the region.
In a statement issued Friday, a network spokesperson praised Mohyeldin’s “extraordinary reporting” and said that, after re-assessing the situation, the correspondent will resume his coverage of the Israel-Hamas conflict.
“Ayman Mohyeldin has done extraordinary reporting throughout the escalation of the conflict in Gaza, filing 25+ reports over the past 17 days, including his invaluable and well-documented contribution to the story on the deaths of the four Palestinian children on Wednesday. As with any news team in conflict zones, deployments are constantly reassessed. We’ve carefully considered our deployment decisions and we will be sending Ayman back to Gaza over the weekend. We look forward to his contributions in the coming days.”
NBC was pilloried by many journalists after network executives removed Mohyeldin from the region earlier this week, a decision that came immediately after the reporter provided powerful, first-hand accounts on Twitter of the Wednesday beach bombing in Gaza that left four young boys dead.
In one tweet, Mohyeldin recounted that he had played soccer with the boys moments before they were killed by the Israeli strike.
Mohyeldin shared his eyewitness account on Wednesday’s edition of the “Today” show, but his colleague, Richard Engel, reported on the beach bombing on that evening’s broadcast of “NBC Nightly News.”
A source at NBC told The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald that the decision to replace Mohyeldin with Engel on the network’s coverage of the conflict was motivated by security concerns, but that explanation never rang true to many. NBC’s relative silence on the matter only further raised suspicion that the decision was politically motivated.
Greenwald blasted the network on Friday, saying the decision damages the outlet’s credibility.
The journalist Rania Khalek noted that Mohyeldin had deleted a pair of social media posts in which he reported that the State Department blamed Hamas for the beach attack. A network source told the Huffington Post’s Michael Calderone that those posts weren’t a factor in the decision, however.
Mohyeldin broke his Twitter silence on Friday night, expressing gratitude for the support he received. He did not respond to TPM’s request for comment.
— Ayman Mohyeldin (@AymanM) July 18, 2014