Telegraph columnist Bryony Gordon penned an op-ed (Now they have come for families, July 16) on the Nice terror attack suggesting that the truck-ramming assault that claimed at least 84 lives represented the first time in the West that jihadists have targeted children.
In noting that at least 10 children were killed by the Tunisian-born terrorist, named Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, Gordon makes the following point:
There is nothing more innocent than a child. Nothing. That is not to say that the deaths at the Bataclan or in Brussels were any less tragic than those that occurred on Bastille Day; or that the 84 adults who were killed on Thursday night in Nice should be grieved less than the ten children who found their lives cut short just as the holidays were beginning. It is not at all. It is simply to say that the attack in Nice has shown that nothing is sacred any more. Nothing. Men, women, children… to fanatics like Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, we are no more than human bowling pins.
This September, it will be 15 years since we entered the murky world of modern terrorism: suicide bombers with scant regard for their own lives let alone anybody else’s. First they came for the businessmen and women. Then eventually they came for the young, carefree concert goers.
Now they have come for the families. For the children. Perhaps this should not be a surprise given they have been doing it for years in Syria and Iraq. But in the western world, it is a monstrous first.
However, even if we were to ignore attacks on children in Israel, Nice did not represent a monstrous “first” in the West.
In 2012, three Jewish children and one adult were murdered by a jihadist named Mohammed Merah in an attack on a Jewish school in the French city of Toulouse.
Here’s the Telegraph’s chilling account of the attack:
The dark motor scooter pulled up and a man described as “determined and athletic” dismounted. Without removing his helmet or saying a word, he opened fire.
Witnesses described how the gunman aimed at whoever was in his path, first shooting Jonathan Sandler, 30, a rabbi and teacher, along with his two sons, Aryeh, six, and Gavriel, three, as they waited for a minibus to take them to their nursery. All three are dead.
Then, when his 9mm weapon jammed, the killer switched to a .45-calibre gun, entered the school gates and chased children as they fled for cover.
He shot a 17-year-old pupil, who is now fighting for his life in hospital, and then cornered eight-year old Miriam, the daughter of the school principal, Yaacov Monsonego. He put the gun to her head and shot her.
It’s hard to imagine how, when writing her op-ed, Gordon could have forgotten about the Jewish children targeted in Toulouse, an attack accurately characterized as the “worst antisemitic atrocity on French soil in decades”.
The journalist responded to our tweet, apologizing for the omission:
UPDATE 2: The Telegraph responded to our complaint and removed the false claim.