Advertisement

Survivors of October 7 Hamas assault sue AP for hiring freelance photographers ‘embedded with terrorists’

Aerial photo of abandoned and torched vehicles at the site of the October 7 attack on the Supernova desert music festival (AFP via Getty Images)
Aerial photo of abandoned and torched vehicles at the site of the October 7 attack on the Supernova desert music festival (AFP via Getty Images)

Survivors of Hamas’ deadly October 7 assault on Israel are suing the Associated Press for aiding the terrorist group by employing freelance photographers allegedly embedded with the militants.

The plaintiffs, comprising Israeli-Americans, Americans present at the Nova music festival targeted by Hamas, and relatives of the victims have filed a lawsuit against the news outlet for damages under the Anti-terrorism Act. The federal lawsuit was lodged in the Southern District of Florida on Wednesday night.

They are represented by lawyers from the nonprofit National Jewish Advocacy Center, who claim the major media company has supported terrorism by paying photojournalists linked to Hamas for pictures taken during the assault.

More than 1,000 civilians were killed after Hamas launched a cross-border assault in Southern Israel on October 7.

“There is no doubt that AP’s photographers participated in the October 7th massacre, and that AP knew, or at the very least should have known, through simple due diligence, that the people they were paying were longstanding Hamas affiliates and full participants in the terrorist attack that they were also documenting,” the complaint alleges.

The lawsuit identifies four freelance photographers whose work AP bought and published, alleging these individuals are "known Hamas associates embedded with the terrorists during the October 7 attacks”.

The complaint primarily targets photojournalist Hassan Eslaiah, who has been accused of associating with Hamas before their attack on Israel.

Eslaiah, whose relationship with AP was terminated in November, is alleged to have been in close proximity to Hamas terrorists during their assaults on Israelis.

He contributed some of the earliest and most detailed images from the scene and acknowledged catching a ride back to Gaza with Hamas militants.

However, Eslaiah has refuted any prior knowledge of the attack or connections to the group.

In a 2020 photo that went viral after the attack, Eslaiah was seen smiling with Hamas commander Yahya Sinwar, who was kissing his cheek and wrapping an arm around the journalist.

Survivors of Hamas’ deadly October 7 assault on Israel are suing the Associated Press for aiding the terrorist group by employing freelance photographers allegedly embedded with the militants.

The lawyers allege that the AP was made aware of Eslaiah’s alleged ties to Hamas but continued to pay for his freelance work.

“AP willfully chose to turn a blind eye to these facts, and instead profited from its terrorist photographer’s participation in the massacre through its publication of the ‘exclusive’ images, for which it certainly paid a premium, effectively funding a terrorist organization,” the suit alleges.

In response, AP issued a statement firmly denying any prior knowledge of the October 7 attacks.

“The first pictures AP received from any freelancer show they were taken more than an hour after the attacks began,” AP’s vice president of corporate communications Lauren Easton said last November.

“No AP staff were at the border at the time of the attacks, nor did any AP staffer cross the border at any time.

“We are no longer working with Hassan Eslaiah, who had been an occasional freelancer for AP and other international news organizations in Gaza.”

The Standard has approached Associated Press for comment.