A series of photos showing hundreds of dead giant devil rays (a smaller cousin to the manta ray) laid out on the beaches of the Gaza Strip caused something of a media phenomenon last week.
Palestinian media initially reported that local Gaza fishermen were overjoyed that the endangered species had made a comeback in their waters, and that huge numbers of the creatures were being hauled in to market.
Devil ray meat fetches about $1.50 per pound in Gaza, where residents believe it to be the source of a healthy diet, especially for growing children.
But by the time the photos reached international media outlets, the fact that Gaza fishermen had deliberately caught and butchered the devil rays, despite a ban on doing so, was somehow forgotten in favor of a more sensationalist spin.
British, French and Italian newspapers labeled the presence of hundreds of dead devil rays on Gaza shores a great mystery, claiming that they had simply washed up there.
Of course, it was a simple matter to prove otherwise. Video footage from the Israeli and Arab media clearly showed Gaza fishermen catching and hauling the devil rays ashore, where they were then slaughtered and carted off to market.
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