In a sensation disclosure, senior-level Israel Defence Forces officers have revealed that Gaza-based journalists of the Associated Press had acquaintances with Hamas terrorists and drank their morning coffee with them in the building the Israel Defense Forces bombed during their counter-terror operations in Gaza, reports Times of Israel.
On May 15, in a swift operation against Hamas terrorists, the IDF had bombed the Al Jalaa building that housed Al Jazeera and other international media outlets, including the Associated Press in Gaza city.
Following the counter-terror operations, the Israel military said that Al Jalaa tower, which housed offices of major international media outlets, was home to a Hamas intelligence unit that operated several advanced electronic warfare devices meant to interfere with the military’s GPS reception, potentially affecting guided IDF weapons.
According to the latest reports, IDF chief Aviv Kohavi has said that AP journalists, knowingly or unknowingly, drank their morning coffee alongside Hamas electronics experts at the tower’s ground-level cafeteria.
Associated Press rejects the claims
Meanwhile, Associated Press has dismissed the reported allegation, claiming it as “patently false” and added there was not even a cafeteria in the building.
AP said Kohavi’s comments were clearly untrue. In a statement Saturday night, the news agency said, “This unsubstantiated allegation attributed to the Israeli military’s chief of staff is patently false. There was not even a cafeteria in the building. Such baseless claims jeopardize the safety of AP journalists.”
In its statements, AP asked for an independent investigation into the destruction of the building housing our Gaza bureau so that the facts are known. “As we have said repeatedly, we had no indication of a Hamas presence in the building, nor were we warned of any such possible presence before the airstrike. We do not know what the Israeli evidence shows, and we want to know,” said AP in its statement.
No regret, justifiably came down: IDF chief
IDF chief Aviv Kohavi has reportedly said to his associates that he has no regrets over the strike, even as some section of international media continues to condemn Israel for razing the Al Jalaa building.
“It justifiably came down,” said IDF chief saying, “I haven’t a gram of regret”.
Israel’s Military Intelligence officials have said the seriousness of the electronic warfare issue justified the attack on the building. The decision to bring down the entire structure, rather than just a surgical strike on the floors where Hamas was operating, is justified as such strikes may not have destroyed all of the capabilities in the tower.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Al Jalaa Tower a “perfectly legitimate target” and added that Israel passes such evidence through intelligence channels.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, IDF officials have said that Israel’s defense establishment handed Pentagon officials classified intelligence pointing to Hamas military operations conducted from the Gaza high-rise.
Al Jalaa tower moves to ICC against Israel
Meanwhile, the owner of the Gaza media tower has registered a complaint with the International Criminal Court. The complaint by Jawad Mehdi claims that the attack that flattened Al Jalaa Tower was a “war crime”. The complaint came after the chief prosecutor of the ICC had said that “crimes” might have been committed during the recent conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
Mehdi, accused of joining hands with Hamas terrorists, has said Israeli intelligence gave him just one hour to ensure the 13-story building was evacuated before carrying out a strike on it.
The ICC has already opened an investigation in March into possible war crimes in by both Israeli forces and Palestinian terror groups since 2014. However, ICC has no jurisdiction to initiate such a probe as Israel is not even a member of the court.