A Palestinian journalist working for NBC News was arrested in Israel on suspicion of inciting terrorism and identifying with a terrorist organization, multiple Israeli media outlets reported.
Marwat Al-Azza, 45, who was employed as a freelancer by NBC, was fired from her job following her arrest Friday. Network officials said Monday they had been unaware of the reporter's social media posts, which led to the arrest, the New York Post reported.
She began working for NBC shortly before the war began, Haaretz reported. She had previously worked for U.S. government-owned Arabic-language satellite network Alhurra and the Saudi channel KSA2.
Al-Azza, who has been living in east Jerusalem, was arrested after four recent posts on her personal Facebook page regarding Hamas’ Oct. 7 terror attack, in which at least 1,200 people were murdered and 240 taken hostage.
"These are very serious offenses during a time of declared war when the respondent lives and makes a living in the same country that is under attack and yet chooses to incite and glorify the horrible acts committed against civilians," a police representative said during a hearing at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court, The Jerusalem Post reported.
A defense lawyer said Al-Azza cooperated fully with Israeli authorities.
"This is a normative woman, engaged in journalism, and her role is very important to everyone," the defense attorney claimed. "She was asked in her investigation about her work. I believe that in the things attributed to her, she cooperated fully. She did not try to hide, saying, 'I had a hacker.'
"Even when she did not have a phone, which is the main tool, she said, 'Indeed, these are my posts,' and this eliminates a thousand disruptive actions. There is her statement — that is why I believe that the investigation has exhausted itself. I ask that she be released under whatever conditions the court deems appropriate. She is from a very respectable family."
On Oct. 7, Al-Azza wrote on Facebook that the kidnapping of an elderly Israeli woman was "killing me, it’s a black comedy, the old woman looks happy, a bit of action before she dies."
Al-Azza also wrote: "Sirens all the time, the Jews are hiding and the Arabs are out drinking coffee on their balconies," and, "I feel like I’m watching a movie where the director is Palestinian and the protagonists are from Gaza."
At the end of the court hearing, Al-Azza’s detention was extended for four more days.
Police last month had requested permission from the prosecutor's office to interrogate Al-Azza, and permission was granted last week.
An NBC spokeperson contacted Newsmax by email with this statement: “The investigation of Ms. Azza is unrelated to NBC News. It is based on her personal Facebook posts that predate her time with us as a freelancer. We were not aware of those posts before we engaged Ms. Azza four weeks ago. She will not be contributing to our coverage going forward.”
Charlie McCarthy, a writer/editor at Newsmax, has nearly 40 years of experience covering news, sports, and politics.
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