Critics are raising an eyebrow at The Associated Press' reportedly disingenuous claim it was unaware Hamas operated out of a 12-story building destroyed Saturday by an Israeli airstrike.
First, some noted it has long been reported Hamas operated out of the building, and other reports have even chronicled Hamas militants threatening the staff in the building, the New York Post reported Monday.
"We have had no indication Hamas was in the building or active in the building," AP president and CEO Gary Pruitt wrote in a statement. "This is something we actively check to the best of our ability. We would never knowingly put our journalists at risk."
He added he was "shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP's bureau and other news organizations in Gaza."
But others have long been shocked about AP's close proximity to the militant group.
"The @AP tells us they aren’t very good at journalism and really, really didn't know," producer of the documentary "An Open Secret," Gabe Hoffman tweeted Saturday.
Hoffman quoted a story from The Atlantic from 2014 in an ensuing tweet, documenting AP's looking the other way on Hamas' operations reportedly housed in the building:
"'AP staff in Gaza City would witness a rocket launch right beside their office.. the AP wouldn't report it
Hamas fighters would burst into the AP’s Gaza bureau & threaten the staff.. the AP wouldn't report it'
@AP didn't know about sharing a building w/ Hamas for 15 years?!?"
Another tweeter noted: "doesn't say much for their reporting abilities if they missed a Hamas staging office a floor away."
A source from the Israel Defense Force confirmed to The Washington Free Beacon contributor of AP's local reporters being aware of the Hamas presence in the building.
The Free Beacon's Noah Pollak tweeted:
"Spoke to a well-placed friend in the IDF just now. The bombed AP office building contained multiple Hamas operations & offices including weapons manufacturing and military intelligence. The building also housed an Islamic Jihad office. And AP's local reporters knew about it."
The Post report frequently quoted Matti Friedman's 2014 Atlantic story.
"When Hamas' leaders surveyed their assets before this summer's round of fighting, they knew that among those assets was the international press," he wrote. "The AP staff in Gaza City would witness a rocket launch right beside their office, endangering reporters and other civilians nearby — and the AP wouldn't report it."
The story added a claim Hamas militants would regularly "burst into the AP's Gaza bureau and threaten the staff — and the AP wouldn't report it."
AP executive editor Sally Buzbee called for evidence of Hamas' presence in the building and an independent investigation, according to the Post.
"We are in a conflict situation," Buzbee told the Post. "We do not take sides in that conflict. We heard Israelis say they have evidence; we don't know what that evidence is. We think it's appropriate at this point for there to be an independent look at what happened [Saturday] — an independent investigation."
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