Blinken backtracks: ‘Israel gave US info on AP building bombing’

“We’ve received some further information through intelligence channels,” said Blinken.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday that Israel had turned over information to the U.S. government justifying the airstrike on the Al-Jalaa Tower in Gaza City, where the Associated Press and Al Jazeera news agencies had offices.

The leveling of the building last Saturday sparked backlash among the foreign press, with AP’s executive director calling for a third-party investigation into the decision.

The Israeli military maintains that the building was used by Hamas terrorists as an operational base.

At a press conference in Reykjavik, Iceland, Blinken said that Israel had provided the U.S. with proof that the building was compromised by terrorist activity.

“We did seek further information from Israel on this question,” he said. “It’s my understanding that we’ve received some further information through intelligence channels, and it’s not something I can comment on.”

Blinken’s most recent comments were a departure from his statements he made about the strike on Monday.

During a press conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, Blinken said the U.S. had been concerned over the strike and had requested proof from the Israeli military that the building had been utilized by Hamas.

“Shortly after the strike we did request additional details regarding the justification for it,” Blinken said.

When asked whether or not the U.S. government has received sufficient information from Israel, Blinken demurred and said he “will leave it to others to characterize if any information has been shared and our assessment [of] that information.”

Blinken added that he personally had “not seen any information provided” on the matter.

IDF spokesman Brig.-Gen. Hidai Zilberman told Army Radio on Tuesday that the operatives in the Al-Jalaa Tower had used the building as a base to plan and execute rocket attacks against Israeli communities bordering Gaza.

“These are people tasked with collecting information about IDF combat troops and the southern [Israeli] communities, in order to carry out all the attacks,” Zilberman said.

“These are the people who directed the terrorist attacks on the communities of the Gaza periphery.”