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The Associated Press came under fire Saturday for claiming to be unaware that they were sharing office space with Hamas militants in Gaza, dismissing the Israeli government’s claim that the terror group was operating inside the media building that was destroyed in an airstrike over the weekend.
Multiple international media organizations were reportedly based in the Al-Jalaa tower, among them AP and Al Jazeera. Occupants were reportedly notified to evacuate an hour before the building was attacked by Israeli airstrikes in a retaliatory attack against the militant group.
The Israeli Defense Forces in a statement said that the high rise was targeted because it was being used by Hamas military intelligence. AP condemned Israel for the attack and claimed to have “no indication” that the U.S. designated terrorist organization operated from the building.
“We have had no indication Hamas was in the building or active in the building,” AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said in a statement. “This is something we actively check to the best of our ability. We would never knowingly put our journalists at risk.”
Pruitt described the news agency as “shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP’s bureau and other news organizations in Gaza.
But a 2014 piece from the Atlantic written by a reporter in the region detailed a long and questionable history between the AP and the jihadist group, critics observed.
“When Hamas’s leaders surveyed their assets before this summer’s round of fighting, they knew that among those assets was the international press. The AP staff in Gaza City would witness a rocket launch right beside their office, endangering reporters and other civilians nearby—and the AP wouldn’t report it,” the article reads.
The journalist at the time claimed that Hamas fighters would regularly “burst into the AP’s Gaza bureau and threaten the staff—and the AP wouldn’t report it.”
The IDF reportedly provided the Biden administration with “smoking gun” evidence on Sunday proving that Palestinian terrorists were operating from within the building.
“Israel shared intelligence with the US showing how Hamas operated inside the same building with Associated Press and Al-Jazeera in Gaza,” The Jerusalem Post reported.
“We showed them the smoking gun proving Hamas worked out of that building,” a source close to Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi told The Jerusalem Post. “I understand they found the explanation satisfactory.”
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