Saturday, January 28th | 6 Shevat 5783

June 8, 2021 1:05 pm

Erdan Meets AP Head, Says Hamas Sought to Develop System in Gaza Media Tower to ‘Jam Iron Dome’

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avatar by Sharon Wrobel

A streak of light is seen as Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, Israel May 16, 2021. Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Israel disclosed that the Hamas terror group worked on an electronic system to disrupt the Iron Dome aerial defense system in the building housing the Associated Press’ office in Gaza, which was bombed during the hostilities in May.

During the 11-day Operation Guardian of the Walls, more than 4,300 rockets were fired by Hamas and the Islamic Jihad towards Israel. According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) about 90% of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome, helping to limit the number of civilian casualties and injuries.

Israel Ambassador to the United Nations and United States Gilad Erdan visited AP’s New York headquarters on Tuesday to share information on the targeting of the building, and to explain to top executives of the media outlet that it was being used by Hamas terrorists trying to “jam the Iron Dome — that is why it was prioritized by the IDF during last month’s operation.”

Erdan offered Israel’s assistance in rebuilding AP’s offices and operations in Gaza.

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“AP is one of the most important news agencies in the world and Israel does not suspect its employees were aware a covert Hamas unit was using the building in this way,” Erdan said. “Israel did everything to ensure no employees or civilians were hurt during this operation. In contrast, Hamas is a genocidal terrorist organization that purposely places its terror machine in civilian areas, including in buildings being used by international media outlets.”

“I reaffirmed that Israel upholds the importance of press freedom and strives to ensure the safety of journalists wherever they are reporting,” Erdan added.

The al-Jalaa building struck by the IDF on May 15th was evacuated before the attack and as a result no civilians were harmed. According to the IDF, the building was used by the Hamas for intelligence R&D and to carry out SIGINT (signals intelligence), ELINT (electronic signals intelligence), and EW (electronic warfare) operations, targeting both the Israeli army’s operational activity and civilian systems in Israel.

“The purpose of the IDF strike was to curtail these enemy capabilities, including destroying special equipment, and preventing their use during the operation. According to IDF assessments, the equipment was in the building at the time of the strike. The strike was designed to collapse the building in order to ensure the destruction of the special means,” the IDF said Tuesday.

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