Israel has been rocked by an NGO’s claim that photojournalists from Gaza, external partners of major news agencies and international media outlets such as Reuters, CNN, AP and the New York Times, may have known in advance of the October 7 attack. of Hamas, since they were present at the attacks.
According to the NGO HonestReporting, which monitors the media for bias in the current Hamas-Israel conflict, Gaza-based photojournalists were captured on camera while Hamas terrorists launched attacks in southern Israel on October 7, which has created the suspicion that these journalists may have had prior knowledge of the Islamist extremist organization’s plans.
Israel’s consul general in Toronto, Idit Samir, posted on the X platform two photos of photojournalists from Gaza covering the Hamas attack. One shows journalist Hassan Eslaya receiving a kiss on the cheek from the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar, mastermind of the October 7 attacks.
Eslaya is one of six photojournalists named by HonestReporting in its report, along with Youssef Massoud, Ali Mahmoud, Hatem Ali, Mohammed Faik Abu Mostafa and Yasser Kutnih, as being present in the Hamas attack on Israel that killed hundreds Israeli civilians.
These photojournalists—outsourcers from Reuters, the Associated Press, the New York Times, and CNN—took pictures of a burning Israeli tank and Hamas gunmen taking hostages, including German-Israeli Sunny Luke, whose death was announced a few days ago. later, and carry civilian bodies.
Photographic snapshots of now-deleted posts by photojournalists covering the Hamas attack went viral on social media.
In one of them, Hassan Eslaya was seen standing next to an Israeli tank captured by Hamas gunmen and reporting without wearing the helmet or vest marked “Press” that fighters are required to wear. correspondents.
Reuters denies having advance knowledge of the October 7 Hamas attack
In its report, HonestReporting claimed that the Associated Press removed the names of these photojournalists-outside partners from some photos in its database and questioned whether the photojournalists in question appeared at the Gaza border in the early morning hours of October 7 without “prior coordination with terrorists’, or perhaps they knew their plans.
CNN has cut ties with a reporter from Gaza
CNN said it had cut ties with Hassan Eslaya, while the Associated Press said it had no advance knowledge of the Oct. 7 attacks, the Washington Times reported.
“We are aware of the article and photo regarding Hasan Eslaya, a photojournalist who has worked with several international and Israeli media outlets,” CNN told the Israeli news website Ynetnews.
“While we have so far found no reason to question the journalistic accuracy of the work he has done for us, we have decided to cut all ties with him,” the US network said.
AP: We didn’t know about the October 7 attacks in advance
For her part, Nicole Meier, head of the press office of the Associated Press, pointed out that the agency uses “photos taken by outside partners around the world, including Gaza.”
“Hassan Eslaya has been an occasional outside contributor to the AP and other news organizations. The Associated Press had no prior knowledge of the October 7 attacks. The role of the Associated Press is to collect information about breaking news around the world, where even these events, the terrifying ones, are happening and causing mass casualties,” he noted.
Reuters denies any knowledge of the October 7 Hamas attack
For its part, the international news agency Reuters today denied any suggestion that it knew in advance of the October 7 attack by Hamas in southern Israel, targeting civilians and soldiers, in response to the HonestReporting article.
“We are aware of the report by HonestReporting and the charges brought against two photographers involved in Reuters’ coverage of the October 7 attack.
Reuters vehemently denies that it knew in advance of the attack or that it had inducted its journalists into the ranks of Hamas on October 7. Reuters obtained photos from two Gaza-based freelance photographers who were at the border on the morning of October 7 and with whom it had no previous collaboration.
The pictures published by Reuters were taken two hours after Hamas fired rockets over Israel and more than 45 minutes after Israel said gunmen had crossed the border.
Reuters reporters were not on the ground at the locations mentioned in the HonestReporting article,” the agency said.