Tuesday, June 15, 2021
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‘Press operating in dictatorship going to be compromised’: AP editor hints at Hamas presence in Al Jalaa, bombed by Israel

Amidst the blame game, a former Associated Press editor has come out validating Israel’s claim that Hamas did, in fact, have offices inside the Gaza building.

Shortly after issuing a warning, Israel had bombed the Al Jalaa building that housed Al Jazeera and other international media outlets in Gaza city citing the presence of terror organisation Hamas’ military intelligence office in the high-rise.

Israel faced a severe global backlash for its fierce step with several demanding proof for Israel’s claim.

Amidst the blame game, a former Associated Press editor has come out validating Israel’s claim that Hamas did, in fact, have offices inside the Gaza building.

Matti Friedman, who worked at AP’s Jerusalem bureau from 2006 to 2011, in a series of tweets disclosed that he didn’t have “direct knowledge” of the incident, but the source he received the information from revealed that there was plenty intelligence pointing to Hamas’ presence in the building. 

“I take army statements like I take foreign press reports – with several grains of salt. But a conversation with a friend who is intimately familiar with military decision-making right now suggests there were indeed Hamas offices there,” he said in his Tweet.

He went on to state that the Israel Defence Force’s legal advisers were convinced of solid proof of Hamas presence in the building and hence decided to go ahead with the strike.

“Because hitting press offices is a net negative for Israel, the army seems to have had a target it considered worth the fallout,” he added. 

Suggesting that AP was compromised, he revealed, “Any press organization operating in a dictatorship is going to be compromised, and will further compromise itself to conceal how it has been compromised. It’s not a new story or one limited to the AP, or to Gaza.”

The claim, however, has come under considerable scrutiny. The Associated Press informed that it had “no indication” about Hamas’s militant operations being run from the building. 

Israel shares evidence

Giving evidence of Hamas’ presence in the targeted building through intelligence channels to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, he said, “We have received some further information through intelligence channels.” 

Declining to share the nature of the information, Blinken added, “That’s not something I can comment on. Press freedom groups condemned the attack, which levelled the building and marked a new chapter in the already rocky relationship between the Israeli military and the international media. AP President Gary Pruitt has called for an independent investigation into the attack.”

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