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Trump campaign official posts rocket fire footage 'from Ukraine' in tweet attacking Ilhan Omar's response to Israel-Gaza

'Whenever Trump or a member of his administration attacks me, I know it's because they are losing the policy debate,' Democratic congresswoman says

Tom Embury-Dennis
Monday 06 May 2019 18:29 BST
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Aerial view of Israeli strike against site claimed to be Palestinian rocket manufacturer

A spokesperson for Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign criticised congresswoman Ilhan Omar in a tweet, alongside footage which she claimed showed a rocket attack on Israel by Hamas, but was actually taken a number of years ago in Ukraine.

Katrina Pierson, who made headlines earlier this year for comparing Democrats to the Ku Klux Klan, questioned Ms Omar's reaction to the violence in Gaza.

She wrote that "650 Rockets" were being fired into Israel from Gaza "in an attempt to overwhelm Israels Iron Dome."

She then asked what Ms Omar's response was to the violence. "Will she condemn this violence?”

The footage accompanying her tweet however, was not recently taken in Gaza, where militants have fired hundreds of rockets into Israel in recent days.

Instead it was apparently filmed in 2015 in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, which has been mired in fighting between government and separatist forces since 2014.

At the time of publication, the tweet had still not been deleted. Ms Pierson instead incorrectly claimed 17 hours after the initial post that the video was a “gif” and that she used the footage to “underscore what hundreds of rockets would look like to Americans”.

Ms Omar, one the first two Muslim women to enter the US Congress responded to the “fake news”, which she said was an example of a “vilification ploy” against her by Trump officials.

“Whenever Trump or a member of his administration attacks me, I know it's because they are losing the policy debate. I'm fighting for progressive policies that will benefit all people. Our movement cannot be stopped because we have the support of the people!” she said.

The Democratic congresswoman later tweeted about the conflict in Gaza, and appeared to criticise both sides for the violence.

“How many more protesters must be shot, rockets must be fired, and little kids must be killed until the endless cycle of violence ends?” she tweeted. “The status quo of occupation and humanitarian crisis in Gaza is unsustainable. Only real justice can bring about security and lasting peace.”

The row came amid the worst outbreak of violence in the region in years, which erupted on Friday and peaked on Sunday when rockets and missiles from Hamas-run Gaza killed four civilians in southern Israel, local health officials said.

Israeli strikes killed 21 Palestinians, over half of them civilians, at the weekend, Gaza health authorities said.

A ceasefire to end the surge of violence took hold on Monday.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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