Media had prior knowledge of Oct 7 massacre; Israel demands answers from CNN, NYT, AP, Reuters

Investigative report shows evidence of journalists working for major news outlets were present during the October 7 massacres.

By World Israel News Staff

The Israeli government has demanded Western news outlets respond to an investigative report which found evidence photojournalists working for the news agencies had prior knowledge of the October 7th invasion of southern Israel.

According to a report released by Honest Reporting on Wednesday, many of the photographs taken of the invasion and subsequent massacres were taken by journalists who apparently crossed the Gaza border immediately following the invasion – all while working for leading news outlets.

The report raised questions about journalistic ethics and hints that certain players in the international press may have had prior knowledge of the invasion that left over 1,400 Israelis dead and over 240 abducted. 

According to the investigation by Honest Reporting, four names appear on photo credits from the Israel-Gaza border on October 7th – Hassan Eslaiah, Yousef Masoud, Ali Mahmud, and Hatem Ali.

Hassan Eslaiah, who also reports for CNN, photographed Hamas setting fire to an Israeli tank and terrorists invading kibbutz Kfar Aza. 

Honest Reporting also posted on X a photo of Hassan Eslaiah being given a kiss on the cheek by the mastermind behind the October 7th massacre, Yahya Sinwar. 

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In addition, Yousef Masoud, who reports for The New York Times, photographed burning Israeli tanks on the morning of the invasion.

Several journalists stood by and photographed Hamas taking prisoners. 

The shocking photo of the murdered German-Israeli hostage Shani Louk was taken by Ali Mahmud, and Hatem Ali took additional photos of hostages being pushed into trucks on the way to Gaza. 

Reuter’s “Photo of the Day” depicting a blurred-out image of an Israeli soldier being lynched by a crowd was taken by Mohammed Fayq Abu Mostafa. 

In addition to the ethical concerns surrounding these photos, Honest Reporting raised the question of whether these news agencies were aware of the attacks ahead of time. 

On Thursday, the Israeli government called out the four media outlets, demanding answers.

The Prime Minister’s Office National Public Diplomacy Directorate demanded that immediate action be taken against “photographers in service of Hamas.” 

In a statement, the Directorate declared, “These journalists were accomplices in crimes against humanity; their actions were contrary to professional ethics.” 

In addition, Benny Gantz, a member of the unity government, said, “Journalists found to have known about the massacre, and still chose to stand as idle bystanders while children were slaughtered – are no different than terrorists and should be treated as such.”

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In response, The Associated Press denied prior knowledge of the Hamas attacks. CNN announced they were suspending ties with Eslaiah, although they denied there was “any reason to doubt the journalistic accuracy of the work he has done for us.”

In a statement Thursday, Reuters acknowledged the investigative report, but added the news agency was unaware of the attacks prior to October 7th.

“We are aware of a report by Honest Reporting and accusations made against two freelance photographers who contributed to Reuters coverage of the Oct. 7 attack.”

Reuters categorically denies that it had prior knowledge of the attack or that we embedded journalists with Hamas on Oct 7.”

Reuters acquired photographs from two Gaza-based freelance photographers who were at the border on the morning of Oct. 7, with whom it did not have a prior relationship. The photographs published by Reuters were taken two hours after Hamas fired rockets across southern Israel and more than 45 minutes after Israel said gunmen had crossed the border.

Reuters staff journalists were not on the ground at the locations referred to in the Honest Reporting article.”

The New York Times has not responded to the report.