AP’s Gaza operations shared building with Hamas tech unit, Israeli envoy explains

June 9, 2021 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations and US Gilad Erdan visited the Associated Press (AP) headquarters in New York on Monday to explain to top executives that the Israeli Air Force (IAF) bombed the building housing their Gaza operation during Operation Guardian of the Walls last month because it was serving Hamas terrorists who were developing technology to jam the Iron Dome defence system.

Smoke rising from the Al-Jalaa tower in Gaza after an Israeli airstrike on the building, which housed Hamas operatives and several media outlets, including the “Associated Press” and “Al Jazeera,” May 15, 2021. Photo by Atia Mohammed/Flash90.

Israel bombed a high-rise in the centre of Gaza during the operation which also served AP’s operation in the Strip. AP initially condemned Israel for the attack. Erdan’s visit was intended the smooth things over.

He met with President and CEO of the Associated Press Gary Pruitt and Ian Phillips, the head of AP’s international news operations.

“AP is one of the most important news agencies in the world and Israel does not suspect its employees were aware a covert Hamas unit was using the building in this way,” he stated Tuesday.

He further stressed that Israel “did everything” to ensure no employees or civilians were hurt during this operation.

“In contrast, Hamas is a genocidal terrorist organization that purposely places its terror machine in civilian areas, including in buildings being used by international media outlets,” he pointed out.

The building that was bombed housed Hamas’ military intelligence offices, the research and technological development department, and technological systems that enabled terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens.

The Iron Dome defence system has rendered Hamas’ elaborate rocket array largely ineffective in striking at Israeli targets. Hamas has been trying to harming the system, also by bombing its batteries. Hamas tech unit in the bombed building in Gaza was trying to target its systems.

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

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