Netanyahu Torches Notion AP Reporters Who Escaped Razed Building Were 'Lucky'

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Posted: May 17, 2021 7:37 AM
Netanyahu Torches Notion AP Reporters Who Escaped Razed Building Were 'Lucky'

Source: AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, Pool

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed back Sunday against those who claimed Associated Press reporters were “lucky” to get out before an Israeli airstrike was set to hit their Gaza City bureau.

“The interesting thing is I would say that, you know, all the journalists, one of the, I think, AP journalists said we were lucky to get out,” Netanyahu said on CBS News’s “Face The Nation.”

“No, you weren’t lucky to get out. It wasn’t luck,” Netanyahu continued. “It’s because we took special pains to call people in those buildings to make sure that the premises were vacated. And that’s why we brought down that building.”

“And look, you have your own experiences, I think, in Mosul - Fallujah - Afghanistan,” he added. “I think you can appreciate the efforts we go through in dense urban fighting when terrorists are targeting civilians who are hiding behind civilians, how difficult that is. We do our best to avoid civilian casualties. And we did that yesterday with that building as well.”

The Israeli Defense Forces razed the building because it housed a Hamas intelligence office—something the AP has denied knowing.

“We are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP’s bureau and other news organizations in Gaza,” AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said in a statement. "The Israeli government says the building contained Hamas military intelligence assets. We have called on the Israeli government to put forward the evidence. AP’s bureau has been in this building for 15 years. We have had no indication Hamas was in the building or active in the building. This is something we actively check to the best of our ability. We would never knowingly put our journalists at risk."

Pointing to a 2014 report in The Atlantic, readers found that hard to believe. 

In the piece, "a reporter in the region detailed a long and questionable history between the AP and the jihadist group, critics observed," according to Fox News

"'When Hamas’s leaders surveyed their assets before this summer’s round of fighting, they knew that among those assets was the international press. 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 article reads

"The journalist at the time claimed that Hamas fighters would regularly "burst into the AP’s Gaza bureau and threaten the staff—and the AP wouldn’t report it.'"