Blinken: ‘I didn’t see evidence connecting Hamas to press building bombing’

Blinken said that he personally has “not seen any information provided” on the matter.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday that Israel has not presented him with evidence proving that a building used by several international media outlets, which was destroyed in an airstrike, was also used as an operational center for the Hamas terror group.

The 12-story Al-Jalaa tower in Gaza City housed the offices of Al Jazeera and the Associated Press in the Strip, and was leveled last Saturday after the IDF warned those inside to evacuate the building.

Israeli officials said the building had been used by Hamas as an intelligence center and weapons development base.

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 has “not seen any information provided” on the matter.

IDF English language spokesman Lt.-Col. Jonathan Conricus said that gathering evidence to present to the U.S. was a low priority in the midst of ongoing clashes, but that Israel would eventually hand over evidence justifying the strike.

“We’re in the middle of fighting,” Conricus said in a statement on Sunday. He said he is “sure in due time that information will be presented.”

Sally Buzbee, executive editor of the Associated Press, said she was concerned about the strike and called for a third-party investigation into Israel’s decision to destroy the building.

“We are in a conflict situation,” Buzbee said in a statement. “We do not take sides in that conflict. We heard Israelis say they have evidence; we don’t know what that evidence is.

“We think it’s appropriate at this point for there to be an independent look at what happened [on Saturday] — an independent investigation.”

Buzbee added that the AP maintained offices in the tower for over a decade, and that there had been no sign that Hamas had used the building.

However, an Atlantic report from 2014 indicated that Hamas operatives had stormed the building on multiple occasions. The report said the press had failed to report on these incidents.