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Hamas denies Israel's claim it had offices in AP building in Gaza

Palestinian journalists cover the destroyed Jala Tower, which was housing international press offices, following an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip on May 15, 2021. [MOHAMMED ABED/AFP via Getty Images]
Palestinian journalists cover the destroyed Jala Tower, which was housing international press offices, following an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip on May 15, 2021. [MOHAMMED ABED/AFP via Getty Images]

Hamas yesterday denied Israeli claims that it had offices in Al-Jalaa Tower, which housed news organisations AP and Al Jazeera.

In a statement, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasem said: "Israel is trying to whitewash its black image and cover up its crimes against civilians in the besieged Gaza Strip."

This came one day after AP executives met with Israeli Ambassador to Washington and the UN Gilad Erdan, who claimed that Israel bombed and destroyed the 12-story building because it included Hamas' offices that were used to "developing an electronic jamming system to be used against the Iron Dome."

"Israeli authorities maintain that the building housing our bureau was destroyed because of a Hamas presence that posed an urgent threat. We have yet to receive evidence to support these claims," AP said in a statement.

"AP continues to call for the full release of any evidence the Israelis have so that the facts are public," AP added.

A couple of days ago, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum replied to Israeli claims in this regard saying: "We absolutely deny the Israeli occupation's claims that Hamas had offices in Al-Jalaa Tower."

He added: "We stress that these are false claims and an attempt to justify the crime of targeting a civilian facility that included media offices for international channels such as Al Jazeera and the American Associated Press, in addition to residential apartments."

"Targeting Al-Jalaa Tower forms part of a series of war crimes and crimes against humanity being committed by the Israeli occupation against civilians. This is like targeting homes, residential neighbourhoods and civil institutions."

READ: Israel's crackdown on journalists slammed by major international press association

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