UPDATE: Lib Media Photojournalists Accused of Embedding With Hamas During Attack

November 8th, 2023 6:06 PM

UPDATE: The Associated Press, CNN, the New York Times, and Reuters have all responded to HonestReporting's story with reactions ranging from cutting ties with the photojournalists in question to defending their work. You can NewsBusters' reporting on their statements here.

On Wednesday, HonestReporting drew attention to what they described as “ethical questions” stemming from the fact that local Gazan photojournalists affiliated with the Associated Press, CNN, the New York Times, and Reuters followed Hamas terrorists through their breaches in the border fence and into Israel during the October 7 terrorist attack. This led to accusations that these journalists were “embedded” with the terrorists and that they were given advanced notice of the attack.

In the subsection titled “AP: Photojournalists or Infiltrators?,” HonestReporting identified four photojournalists with various ties to Western liberal media outlets who somehow found themselves among the chaos of the invasion of Israel that was a shock to everyone but those who planned it. The reporters of note were “Hassan Eslaiah, Yousef Masoud, Ali Mahmud, and Hatem Ali.”

“What were they doing there so early on what would ordinarily have been a quiet Saturday morning? Was it coordinated with Hamas?” HonestReporting wondered. “Did the respectable wire services, which published their photos, approve of their presence inside enemy territory, together with the terrorist infiltrators? Did the photojournalists who freelance for other media, like CNN and The New York Times, notify these outlets?”

The answer was obvious to Free Beacon contributor Noah Pollak, who posted on X (formerly Twitter): “Important expose by @honestreporting: Photographers working for AP, CNN, NYT, and Reuters were EMBEDDED with Hamas on 10/7 and accompanied the terrorist group into Israel. They knew the attack was coming, and participated in it.”



As HonestReporting showed, Eslaiah (who works for the AP and CNN) accompanied the attackers who assaulted Kibbutz Kfar Azza and he did not wear anything that identified him as a journalist and apparently attempted to hide that he was present during the attack, but the internet is forever.

“HonestReporting has obtained screenshots of Eslaiah’s now-removed tweets on X in which he documented himself standing in front of the Israeli tank. He did not wear a press vest or a helmet, and the Arabic caption of his tweet read: ‘Live from inside the Gaza Strip settlements,’” they reported.

Pollak also discovered a picture of Eslaiah being embraced and receiving a kiss on the cheek by Yahya Sinwar who headed Hamas's operations in Gaza. "More: Here is Hassan Eslaiah, an @AP and @CNN contributor, taking a selfie while being kissed by Yahya Sinwar, the head of Hamas in Gaza and architect of the 10/7 slaughter," he posted.



A couple of AP photographers were so serendipitously positioned that they were able to witness Hamas abducting innocent Israelis to be their hostages:

Masoud, who also works for The New York Times, was there as well —  just in time to set foot in Israeli territory and take more tank pictures.

Ali Mahmud and Hatem Ali were positioned to get pictures of the horrific abductions of Israelis into Gaza.

Mahmud captured the pickup truck carrying the body of German-Israeli Shani Louk and Ali got several shots of abductees being kidnapped into the Strip.

Reuters journalist Abu Mustafa managed to be in the right place to capture a shot of a Palestinian “lynch mob brutalizing the body of an Israeli soldier.” His employer even made his disturbing photo their “Image of the Day.”

Whether or not these photojournalists were formally embedded with Hamas, heard rumors of an attack, or just so happened to be in the right place at the right time, it showed how problematic it is for these outlets to rely on assets with vested interest and ties to the efforts of terrorists.