Just one day after the destruction of the 12-story media building, officials confirmed with the Jerusalem Post that the Biden administration was presented with solid proof of Hamas’s presence in the building.
Israel provided the U.S “smoking gun” evidence of Hamas terrorists operating inside the building that housed news media offices in the Gaza Strip, quelling the allegations that it was trying to censor coverage in the region.
The exchange was made via phone conversation on the day of the attack between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S President Joe Biden, authorities said.
“We showed them the smoking gun proving Hamas worked out of that building,” the newspaper reported, citing a source close to Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.
“I understand they found the explanation satisfactory,” the source told the outlet, confidently asserting that Israel had already proven with the U.S that Hamas was in the media building.
In an interview with the U.S. TV show Face the Nation, Benjamin Netanyahu upheld the information that Jerusalem gathered. “We pass it through our intelligence people,” he said, referring to the phone call with the Biden administration.
“We share all the intelligence with our American friends. The intelligence we had is about an intelligence office for [Hamas] housed in that building that plots and organizes terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians,” said Netanyahu. “It is a perfectly legit target.”
When Israel took down the media tower Al-Jalaa on Saturday, May 12, several news media, including the Associated Press, derided the military force’s decision, saying the strike compromises media trust.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on social media it gave citizens time to evacuate the property, and no journalists or any tenants in the property were killed subsequently. Those inside the building were informed of the imminent attack one hour prior.
“The building contained civilian media offices, which Hamas hides behind and deliberately uses as human shields,” IDF said, later asserting that the attempt will not grant the organization immunity. “When Hamas places military assets inside such a building, it becomes a lawful military target. This is clear international law.”
Despite this, AP CEO Gary Pruitt went on in a statement denying the IDF’s reason for the attack, that the seemingly innocent building was condoning the Hamas terrorists, demanded evidence. Top editors of the organization went further by requesting a probe into the Israeli airstrike.
Israeli military spokesman Lt Col Jonathan Conricus refused to publicize the evidence that Israel collected until two days later, Channel News Asia on Sunday, May 16.
“We’re in the middle of fighting,” said Conricus. “That’s in process and I’m sure in due time that information will be presented.”