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No Evidence Hamas In Media Building Destroyed By Israeli Airstrikes, US Secretary Of State Claims

by : Hannah Smith on : 17 May 2021 16:46
No Evidence Hamas In Media Building Destroyed By Israeli Air Strikes, US Secretary Of State ClaimsPA Images

The US Secretary of State says he has been given no information to support claims that a building housing international media destroyed by Israeli airstrikes was being used by Hamas.

Anthony Blinken told reporters he had asked Israel to provide justification for the strike, which levelled a 12-storey building in Gaza City containing offices used by Al Jazeera and Associated Press journalists.

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‘Shortly after the strike we did request additional details regarding the justification for it… I have not seen any information provided,’ he said.

Speaking at a news conference at a G7 summit in Denmark, Blinken said he couldn’t confirm whether evidence had been shared through other channels, adding he ‘will leave it to others to characterise if any information has been shared and our assessment that information.’

Air strikes destroy al-jalaa building (PA Images)PA Images

The comments come less than 24 hours after an Israeli military spokesperson declined to confirm a timeframe for providing evidence for the strike to the United States.

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In an interview on CNN Lt. Col. Jonathan Cornicus said, ‘We’re in the middle of fighting. That’s in process and I’m sure in due time that information will be presented.’

Israel has claimed Hamas used the al-Jalaa tower as a military intelligence office.

The Associated Press‘ executive editor Sally Buzbee said staff were ‘rattled’ by the incident, and said Israel had not given them evidence to justify the attack.

‘We do not take sides in [the] conflict. We heard Israelis say they have evidence; we don’t know what that evidence is,’ she told CNN. Buzbee also called for an ‘independent investigation’ into the strike.

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US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken (PA Images)PA Images

A number of other buildings housing journalists have reportedly been hit by ongoing airstrikes targeting Gaza. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has said the offices of 23 international and domestic media organisations have been destroyed over the past week.

The organisation has called on the International Criminal Court to say whether the strikes could constitute a possible war crime.

In a statement, RSF secretary general Christophe Deloire said:

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By intentionally destroying media outlets, the Israel Defense Forces not only inflicts unacceptable material damage on newsrooms, it more generally hinders media coverage of a conflict that directly affects the civilian population. RSF is asking the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to determine whether the bombings constitute war crimes.

In a statement, the State Department said that the Secretary of State offered his ‘unwavering support for independent journalists and media organisations around the world.’

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Hannah Smith

Hannah Smith is a London-based journalist at UNILAD. After studying History at UCL she worked for print publications on both sides of the pond, including spells at Harper's Magazine and The Times, before graduating with an MA in Newspaper Journalism from City, University of London.

Topics: News, Gaza, Israel, Israeli - Palestine Violence, Now, Palestine

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Associated Press
  1. Associated Press

    Blinken hasn't seen any evidence on AP Gaza building strike