Israeli ambassador: Hamas was using Associated Press building to jam Iron Dome technology

on Jun8
by | Comments Off on Israeli ambassador: Hamas was using Associated Press building to jam Iron Dome technology |

Israeli Ambassador to the UN and US Gilad Erdan told the Associated Press on Monday that the Palestinian terror group Hamas was using its now destroyed Gaza building to obstruct the Iron Dome missile defense system, according to the Jerusalem Post and the Times of Israel.

“That is why it was prioritized [as a target] by the IDF during last month’s operation,’” the Times of Israel reported about the meeting between Erdan and the AP’s Gary Pruitt and Ian Phillips.

Israel leveled the Gaza media tower, which had also housed Al Jazeera, in an air strike last month. The strike drew howls of outrage from the press, but some Middle East voices said the Israeli airstrike on the building would be justified by the explanation.

“Entirely legitimate,” international human rights lawyer Arsen Ostrovsky said following the reports.

“Hamas deliberately embeds itself among the press to shield its terrorism against Israel,” the American Israel Public Affairs Committee tweeted. “Defeating terrorism is necessary for peace.”

“And the media is still complaining about the offices being destroyed,” added conservative journalist Kassy Dillon.

Pruitt said last month the wire service was “shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP’s bureau and other news organizations in Gaza.” He also claimed that the AP didn’t know Hamas was active in the building.

“As we have said, we have no indication of a Hamas presence in the building, nor were we warned of any such possible presence before the airstrike,” he said at the time. “This is something we check as best we can. We do not know what the Israeli evidence shows, and we want to know.”

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed back on those claims, telling AP journalists they “weren’t lucky” to get out alive because Israel had repeatedly warned them they were planning to hit the building.

Some critics have questioned the AP’s claims it did not know it shared a building with Hamas, but Erdan believed the outlet to be unaware.

“Israel does not think that [AP] workers were aware of the Hamas activities in the building, because it was a secret Hamas unit,” he said.

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Erdan added Israel is ready to help the AP construct a new office building in the region.

“I reaffirmed that Israel upholds the importance of press freedom and strives to ensure the safety of journalists wherever they are reporting,” the ambassador said. “Israel is willing to assist AP in rebuilding its offices and operations in Gaza.”



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