Biden 'gave the OK' for Israeli blitz that leveled Hamas building in Gaza after Netanyahu shared 'smoking gun' evidence

PRESIDENT Joe Biden “gave the OK” for the huge Israeli blitz that levelled an alleged Hamas building in Gaza after Benjamin Netanyahu shared the “smoking gun” evidence.

The evidence is said to have been handed over by the Israeli President during his telephone conversation with Joe Biden on Saturday.

A source close to Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi is reported to have said: “We showed them the smoking gun proving Hamas worked out of that building”.

He added Biden had “found the explanation satisfactory”, although did not provide details of the evidence.

The source said the information had not been shared more widely because the US had been the only country to request more information on the air strike, according to the Jerusalem Post.

The Israeli Air Force targeted the Al-Jalaa building, where the Associated Press and Al Jazeera news agencies were based, on Saturday afternoon, dropping three bombs which demolished it.

Journalists based there had been given just one hour to evacuate.

IDF spokesperson Hidai Zilberman said: “A Hamas research and development unit, Hamas military intelligence, and offices of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organisation” were also housed in the building. 

“A building that has Hamas and Islamic Jihad assets in it needs to be brought down”, he said, adding it was hoped the strike would deter Islamist organisations from using media offices as human shields in the future.

Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus made similar claims Hamas used the building for a military intelligence office and weapons development on Saturday.

He claimed “a highly advanced technological tool” being used by the group was “within or on the building”.

Conricus though said evidence could not be produced to back up the claims without intelligence efforts being compromised.

However he added it was a legitimate request to see the evidence and he would try to provide it.

During Biden’s call with Netanyahu he stated he continued to support Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas but aired concerns over the death toll on both sides.

“He raised concerns about the safety and security of journalists and reinforced the need to ensure their protection,” the White House said.

At least 145 people in Gaza and eight in Israel have been killed since the fighting erupted on Monday night.

A statement from the IDF said: “The building housed the offices of civilian media, which the terrorist organisation Hamas hides behind and uses as human shields.

“The terror organisation Hamas deliberately places its military assets in the heart of the civilian population in the Gaza Strip.”

No evidence has been provided by the Israeli military to support their claims.

The attack has been condemned by both the Associated Press and Al Jazeera.

“The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today,” AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said in a statement. 

“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.”

“This is an incredibly disturbing development. We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life,” he said, adding that the AP was trying to learn more from both the US and Israeli governments.

The Foreign Press Association, which represents around 400 journalists working for international media organisations in Israel and the Palestinian territories, expressed its “grave concern and dismay” over the attack.

“Knowingly causing the destruction of the offices of some of the world's largest and most influential news organisations raises deeply worrying questions about Israel's willingness to interfere with the freedom of the press,” it said. “The safety of other news bureaus in Gaza is now in question.”

Mostefa Souag, acting director-general of Al Jazeera Media Network, called the strike a “war crime” and a “clear act” to stop journalists from reporting on the conflict.

“The aim of this heinous crime is to silence the media and to hide the untold carnage and suffering of the people of Gaza,” he said in a statement.

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