Gaza reporter caught on tape confirming Hamas fired rockets near TV offices
Israel releases tape of Al-Arabiya presenter saying Grad fired 'below the building', networks deny claim.
Footage of a presenter on the Arabic language television station Al-Arabiya apparently confirms that Hamas fired at least one rocket from close to a building used by journalists during the 22-day conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
The Israel Defense Forces shelled the building, drawing international condemnation, and television networks with offices in the building denied that rockets had been launched from anywhere nearby.
But the recording, filmed by an Israeli and released Tuesday by Israel's Foreign Ministry, shows Al-Arabiya presenter Hanan Al-Masri saying that a Grad rocket had been fired from a location near the studios at Al-Shuruk tower in Gaza City. Al-Masri did not realize that she had been caught on camera.
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Al-Masri, a Gaza resident, has been a reporter for Al-Arabiya for three years. She is filmed discussing other issues until she is apparently distracted by the firing.
"...A rocket from here? It's here," she says and turns to look at a window. "Listen, it's here, below the building..."
The production team tells Al-Masri that a rocket has been fired from a nearby location. She then calls someone and says: "The rocket that was just fired from here is a Grad?... It's as if it was fired from beneath the office. It was very loud. I thought it was bombing but it was a rocket launch."
The Foreign Ministry says the film is proof that Hamas had fired from the area of the studios.
Although the movie was filmed in one of the first days of Israel's 22-day offensive in Gaza, and Al-Shuruk tower was bombed only towards the end of the war, the Foreign Ministry views it as proof that Hamas did not refrain from launching rockets close to members of the media, and perhaps even fired near them in a bid to draw Israel into bombing the building.