Israel said it shared “smoking gun” evidence with Biden administration officials that Hamas militants were operating out of a building in the Gaza Strip that housed media outlets that was reduced to rubble by Israeli rockets.
President Biden spoke to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday, a discussion that included the bombing of the building, and Israel showed Biden and other American officials the intelligence behind their decision, the Jerusalem Post reported on Sunday.
“We showed them the smoking gun proving Hamas worked out of that building,” the newspaper reported, citing a source close to Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi. “I understand they found the explanation satisfactory.”
Israel Obliterates Media Building
In a readout of the call from the White House, Biden reaffirmed “Israel’s right to defend itself against rocket attacks from Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza.
Biden also “raised concerns about the safety and security of journalists and reinforced the need to ensure their protection.”
An Israeli airstrike destroyed the 12-story building in the Gaza Strip that contained the offices of the Associated Press, Al Jazeera and other news outlets an hour after the Israeli military ordered the building be evacuated.
“We’re still in a positive place when it comes to our legitimacy to act,” the Jerusalem Post quoted the source. “There is very clear support for the Israeli stance that the terrorism crossed a line.”
AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said he was “shocked and horrified” by the attack. “This is an incredibly disturbing development.”
The US was the only country to ask about the bombing of the building, the Jerusalem Post reported.
“From an analysis the Foreign Ministry did [Sunday], 80 percent of the 90 countries we spoke to in recent days released official statements supporting Israel’s right to defend itself. They aren’t calling to stop the operation,” a ministry source told the newspaper.
Ashkenazi also spoke to over 30 foreign ministers.
#VIDEO Israeli strikes killed 42 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip Sunday, the worst daily death toll yet in the almost week-long clashes, as the UN Security Council met amid global alarm at the escalating conflicthttps://t.co/MYZJacpAp7 pic.twitter.com/xRQ1l2s5rN
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) May 16, 2021