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The Canadian Press

Israeli official cancels military chief’s comments on AP Gaza

JERUSALEM (AP) – Israel’s Defense Minister distanced himself from comments by his military leader on Monday after Israel bombed a Gaza Strip skyscraper housing an Associated Press office and others media outlets, claiming the comments were not meant to be taken literally. In an article posted on Channel 12’s website over the weekend, Military Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi said that “the building has been deservedly destroyed” and that he did not have a “gram of regret”. . The article claimed that the militant Hamas group that runs Gaza was using several floors of the Jalaa Tower for “significant electronic warfare” intended to disrupt the Israeli Air Force’s GPS communications. The article went on to state that Kohavi had told “a foreign source” that PA journalists drank coffee every morning in a cafeteria at the entrance to the building with Hamas electronics experts whether they knew it or not. called the comments “patently false,” noting that “there was not even a cafeteria in the building.” Asked about Kohavi’s comments, Defense Minister Benny Gantz told foreign reporters that the military chief spoke only in figurative terms. “When the chief of staff spoke about it, he was trying to portray the atmosphere, not the real aspects,” Gantz said. Gantz again alleged that “there was a functioning Hamas infrastructure in the offices nt from this building “. Asked to respond to Gantz’s comments, the military spokesperson’s office also said Kohavi’s statements were meant to be figurative. “It was never claimed that PA journalists knowingly interacted with Hamas personnel. On the contrary, due to the nature of Hamas activities, AP journalists had no way of knowing that Hamas personnel were involved. was in the building, “he said.” The Chief of Staff explained the possible circumstances of such a meeting where the terrorist organization Hamas is embedded in the civilian population and uses civilian buildings for military purposes. The Israeli army gave the occupants of the building an hour to evacuate before the airstrike on May 15. No one was injured, but the skyscraper was flattened into a pile of rubble. AP said he had no indication of a Hamas presence in the building and was never warned of any possible presence until that day. He called for an independent investigation and urged Israel to make public its presence. inte lligence. Gantz said Israel shared its information ements with the US government. But he said Israel did not intend to release the information, saying it did not want to disclose its sources. Josef Federman, The Associated Press

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