Former AP editor suggested Hamas did have offices in the agency's Gaza City building

Business Insider US
Fire erupts from the Al-Jalaa Tower as it's destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza city controlled by the Palestinian Hamas movement, on May 15, 2021.

  • Israel on Saturday destroyed a Gaza City building housing media outlets including the Associated Press.
  • Israel said the building also contained Hamas activity, which the AP has denied.
  • But a former AP editor suggested that Hamas did have offices in the building.
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A former Associated Press editor has suggested that the Hamas militant group did indeed have offices at the Gaza building that Israel destroyed over the weekend.

Israel launched an airstrike on the al-Jalaa tower in Gaza City, which houses media outlets like the AP and Al Jazeera, on Saturday. The Israel Defense Forces said the building had also contained military intelligence assets for Hamas.

The AP pushed back on the IDF's claim, saying there was "no indication Hamas was in the building."

But Matti Friedman, who worked as a reporter and editor at the AP's Jerusalem bureau from 2006 to 2011, contradicted his former employer on Sunday, tweeting: "A conversation with a friend who is intimately familiar with military decision-making right now suggests there were indeed Hamas offices there."

Insider has contacted the Associated Press and Friedman for comment.

In a 2014 essay for The Atlantic, Friedman had suggested that AP journalists frequently chose not to report on rocket attacks launched by Hamas near their offices.

He said on Sunday that he "didn't write [in the 2014 essay] that Hamas operated out of the same building, and don't know if that's true," before reporting on his military source's suggestion that Hamas did have offices there.

The Jerusalem Post on Monday cited Israeli officials as saying that they had shared with the US "the smoking gun proving Hamas worked out of that building," and that they believed the Americans "found that explanation satisfactory." Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later confirmed that statement.

The agency's top editor has also called for an independent investigation into the airstrike, and Reporters Without Borders has asked for an investigation into whether it was a war crime. The Israeli military gave the AP and other outlets an hour to evacuate the building before the airstrike.

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