Mainstream Outlets Had Photographers Embedded With Hamas As Terror Attack Unfolded: Report
Palestinian militants move towards the border fence with Israel from Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on October 7, 2023. Barrages of rockets were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip at dawn as militants from the blockaded Palestinian enclave infiltrated Israel, with at least one person killed, the army and medics said.
SAID KHATIB / AFP via Getty Images

Photographers from the Associated Press and Reuters appear to have been embedded with Hamas terrorists as they executed terrorist attacks against Israel on October 7, according to a new report from Honest Reporting, a media watchdog.

Photos posted by the news agencies of the surprise terrorist attack on Israel include ones showing terrorists breaking the gates to Kibbutz Kfar Aza, where residents were caught completely off guard and dozens were murdered. Photos also show that photographers were on the scene as terrorists took civilians such as Shani Louk hostage, and attacking Israeli tanks on the other side of the Gaza border.

The photos raise serious questions about whether the news agencies had advance knowledge that the terrorist attacks were taking place. The four individuals credited by the Associated Press for images of the attacks — Hassan Eslaiah, Yousef Masoud, Ali Mahmud, and Hatem Ali — are all photographers based in Gaza, where it was revealed in 2021 that the Associated Press shared office space with the terrorist group.

One of the photographers, Hassan Eslaiah, has reportedly been pictured getting kissed by a top Hamas operative who is said to be one of the chief architects of the deadly terrorist attacks, which killed over 1,400 and have led to a massive war with Israel.

Eslaiah’s social media posts from the day, which have since been deleted but were preserved by Honest Reporting, show he was on the scene. “Live from inside the Gaza Strip settlements,” he wrote along with an image of himself with a burning Israeli tank.

After publication of this article, a spokeswoman for the Associated Press denied any advance knowledge of the attack.

“The Associated Press had no knowledge of the Oct. 7 attacks before they happened,” said Nicole Meir. “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. AP uses images taken by freelancers around the world, including in Gaza.”

Reuters did not respond to a request for comment. The New York Times and CNN, which both have worked with the photographers in question, also did not respond to inquiries.

Honest Reporting is operated by Gil Hoffman, a veteran Israeli journalist who worked as a political correspondent for the Jerusalem Post for decades. The media watchdog says the “audience deserves to know” how photographer’s real-time knowledge of the terrorist attacks came about. Residents in neighborhoods attacked by Hamas were caught completely off-guard and waited several hours for help to arrive.

“When international news agencies decide to pay for material that has been captured under such problematic circumstances, their standards may be questioned and their audience deserves to know about it,” the watchdog writes. “And if their people on the ground actively or passively collaborated with Hamas to get the shots, they should be called out to redefine the border between journalism and barbarism.”

The mainstream media has come under fire for its handling of Israel’s war against Hamas, with outlets such as the New York Times and others treating false claims by Hamas as facts — such as that the Israelis killed hundreds with a strike on a hospital, when in reality it was a terrorist missile that hit the facility.

The New York Times is actively publishing stories from a freelance reporter in Gaza who has proclaimed admiration for Adolf Hitler.

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