The Associated Press (AP) issued a statement Thursday in response to serious allegations against freelancers who contributed to AP’s coverage of the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration is demanding answers from several prominent news agencies after criticism emerged of their photographers and their links to Hamas on the day of its barbaric attack.
As Breitbart News reported Wednesday, AP said that it had no foreknowledge of the attack, even though its photographers appeared alongside Hamas terrorists from the first moments they broke through the Gaza border fence.
The company has now issued this statement:
The Associated Press had no knowledge of the Oct. 7 attacks before they happened.
The first pictures AP received from any freelancer show they were taken more than an hour after the attacks began. No AP staff were at the border at the time of the attacks, nor did any AP staffer cross the border at any time.
We are no longer working with Hassan Eslaiah, who had been an occasional freelancer for AP and other international news organizations in Gaza.
AP uses images taken by freelancers around the world. When we accept freelance photos, we take great steps to verify the authenticity of the images and that they show what is purported.
The role of the AP is to gather information on breaking news events around the world, wherever they happen, even when those events are horrific and cause mass casualties.
Israel’s Government Press Office (GPO), which regulates press access in Israel, has also issued a statement demanding explanations surrounding media coverage on the day.
GPO Director Nitzan Chen specifically called on the bureau chiefs of AP, Reuters, CNN and the New York Times to explain their links to the contributorsas footage emerges of the alleged involvement on the day of Hassan Eslaiah.
Yo, @AP, @Reuters, @cnn – what your freelancer in Gaza Hassan Eslaiah is doing on a motorbike with a grenade, on his way to the massacre of women and babies? Is a grenade part of the equipment you provide? pic.twitter.com/jU85KEo7Ec— עמית סגל Amit Segal (@amit_segal) November 9, 2023
As Joel Pollak reported for Breitbart News, news agencies have faced criticism in recent years for using photographers or local “stringers” who have sympathy for anti-Israel terrorist groups.
Often, these are the only photographers that groups like Hamas and Hezbollah will permit to work in the area.
UPDATE: Honest Reporting sparked the coverage Hassan Eslaiah and took to social media to share more images of him from October 7:
In the hours following our expose, new material is still coming to light concerning Gazan freelance journalist Hassan Eslaiah whom both AP & CNN used on Oct. 7.— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) November 8, 2023
Here he is pictured with Hamas leader and mastermind of the Oct. 7 massacre, Yahya Sinwar. https://t.co/S9pXeIGaFq pic.twitter.com/RmEZU5RsM8
In a later video relating to an Israeli tank and crew being captured, Eslaiah says in Arabic: “Everyone who were inside this tank were kidnapped, everyone who were inside the tank were kidnapped a short while ago by al-Qassam Brigades [Hamas’ armed wing], as we have seen with our own eyes.”