Senior Israeli Officials Share Intel With U.S. on Downed Gaza Media Tower

Netanyahu says the building, which housed Al Jazeera and Associated Press offices, was a 'totally legitimate target', but the specific intelligence that was passed on was not specified

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The Israeli strike on the tower housing media outlets in Gaza, on Saturday.
The Israeli strike on the tower housing media outlets in Gaza, on Saturday.Credit: Stringer ./ REUTERS

Senior Israeli defense officials passed on classified intelligence to Pentagon officials about Hamas military activity that took place in the high-rise media building that the IDF bombed Saturday in Gaza. 

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the building, which housed Associated Press and Al Jazeera offices, “a totally legitimate target,” noting in an interview with CBS News earlier this week that Israel conveys information like this through intelligence channels.

Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer, who is now serving as an adviser to Netanyahu, told CNN that Israel had pass on information to intelligence officials in Washington and that the building contained Hamas intelligence offices.

Defense Minster Benny Gantz also spoke Tuesday with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, according to a Defense Ministry statement, which said that Gantz told Austin that, “The military operation will continue with the aim of bringing long-term quiet,” and that, “Israel acts and will continue to act with defense and diplomatic responsibility.”

The Pentagon announcement regarding this conversation said that Austin reiterated America’s support for Israel’s right to defend itself, and expressed regret for the loss of innocent Israeli and Palestinian lives. Austin expressed support for a reduction of tensions.

Earlier in the day, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Washington had received further information about Israel's destruction of a Gaza high-rise that housed the local offices of the Associated Press and Al Jazeera news organizations.

"We did seek further information from Israel on this question," Blinken said at a joint briefing with Iceland's foreign minister in Reykjavik.

"It's my understanding that we've received some further information through intelligence channels, and it's not something I can comment on," he said.

A call from by U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday in support of a ceasefire appeared to go unheeded, even as cross-border fighting between Israel and Hamas appeared to abate slightly on Tuesday.

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