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We’ve seen no evidence of Hamas link to destroyed Gaza media building, says US

May 18, 2021 at 3:01 pm

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on May 18, 2021 [SAUL LOEB/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that he saw no evidence that Hamas was operating in a Gaza office building housing international media organisations, including Al Jazeera and the Associated Press, which Israel bombed over the weekend.

Raising speculation over Israel’s explanation for why it targeted a media office, which may constitute a war crime, Blinken said yesterday he has asked Israel for justification for the strike.

“Shortly after the strike we did request additional details regarding the justification for it,” Blinken said from Copenhagen, Denmark. He declined to discuss specific intelligence, saying he “will leave it to others to characterize if any information has been shared and our assessment of that information.”

Blinken insisted: “I have not seen any information provided.”

Israeli military spokesman Lt Gen Jonathan Conricus told CNN on Sunday: “We’re in the middle of fighting. That’s in process and I’m sure in due time that information will be presented.”

READ: Warnings of ‘terrible massacre’ planned by Israel against journalists

Sally Buzbee, AP’s executive editor, said the Israeli government has yet to provide them clear evidence supporting its attack, which levelled the 12-story Al-Jalaa Tower on Saturday.

The American news agency said that it has called on the Israeli government to put forward the evidence.

“AP’s bureau has been in this building for 15 years. We have had no indication Hamas was in the building or active in the building. This is something we actively check to the best of our ability. We would never knowingly put our journalists at risk,” the news agency said in a statement following the bombing of its office. It has called for an independent investigation into the bombing.

Amnesty International has also called for an investigation into Israel’s targeting of Al-Jalaa Tower. “Direct attacks on civilians are war crimes,” Amnesty International said on Twitter, adding that it is “deeply concerned over the mounting death toll in Gaza.”