CNN’s Brian Stelter put Jonathan Conricus under an intense grilling as he pressed the Israel Defense Forces lieutenant colonel and international spokesman on why Israel bombed a building in Gaza that was occupied by several media outlets.
As the conflict between Israel and Palestine continues to escalate, the IDF launched an airstrike on the 12 story building over the weekend, claiming there were “Hamas military intelligence assets” inside. The building also housed offices for international news outlets like the Associated Press and Al Jazeera, who were warned to evacuate before the strike.
The AP has called the incident “an incredibly disturbing development,” so when Conricus appeared Sunday on Reliable Sources, Stelter began by asking “are you able to provide proof now that Hamas was in the building?”
“Not only was Hamas was in the building, it was actively using it to fight against Israel,” Conricus said. He went on by claiming that the building contained “special technological equipment… which they used to actively fight and disrupt Israeli actions,” and so it was deemed “a legitimate military target.”
“Out of consideration for human life and for the people who work there,” Conricus added, “we chose to forfeit additional military gains by surprise attacking. And instead, we did what of course is the right thing to do: advance warning and allowed everybody to clear, vacate the premises and made sure that everybody was out before the building was struck.”
“Can you show us the evidence?” Stelter asked. “Can you hold it up, Can you show us the pictures, the intelligence you have?”
Conricus said the evidence was “in process” and would be presented “in due time.”
“Shouldn’t that have happened 24 hours ago?” Stelter responded. This went on with Conricus deflecting the question while Stelter kept asking for public proof to justify the bombing of a news bureau.
Conricus said Hamas operates by using “civilian infrastructure for their military purposes,” which deters counterattacks because of concerns about civilian casualties. Stelter acknowledged this as “very concerning,” but he asked “why didn’t Israel inform the AP and Al Jazeera ahead of time that you’re saying Hamas intelligence units were in the same buildings as their bureaus?”
The interview continued with Conricus taking questions about a report that Israel showed the U.S. the intelligence they had on Hamas’ operations in the building before striking. Stelter also asked him whether Israel is losing the “media war” in terms of international press perspective on the Palestine conflict.
Watch above, via CNN.
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