CNN has now cut ties with a freelance Gaza photojournalist over claims that he was embedded with the Islamic terrorist group Hamas.
The photojournalist in question, Hassan Eslaiah, has reportedly been filing photographs of the conflict to CNN and a variety of other outlets since the Hamas attack that began on October 7th.
In photos he shared of Hamas’ incursion into Kibbutz Kfar Azza and a tank that was set on fire at the border, Eslaiah was seen not wearing a vest or a helmet, indicating that he was a part of the press.
An exposé from the media watchdog group Honest Reporting questioned how four freelance photojournalists, including Eslaiah, were able to get the shots that they did while the invasion was still ongoing and dangerous.
The watchdog group suggested that the photographers could be imbedded with the terrorist group and that they had to have known about the attack prior to it being carried out. This allegation raised additional concerns regarding if the photojournalists had prior knowledge of events that would later transpire.
AP, Reuters and The New York Times have all denied having prior knowledge of the attack. Despite all of the publications not finding “any reason to doubt the journalistic accuracy of the work he (Eslaiah) has done,” many have still decided to cut ties with the photojournalist as of late.
“The Associated Press had no knowledge of the Oct. 7 attacks before they happened. The first pictures AP received from any freelancer show they were taken more than an hour after the attacks began,” the statement read. “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.”
“Reuters categorically denies that it had prior knowledge of the attack or that we embedded journalists with Hamas on Oct 7. Reuters acquired photographs from two Gaza-based freelance photographers who were at the border on the morning of Oct. 7, with whom it did not have a prior relationship,” the outlet stated. “Reuters staff journalists were not on the ground at the locations referred to in the Honest Reporting article.”
The New York Times similarly responded to the claims and hit back at the pro-Israel group, calling their allegations “vague insinuations.”
Eslaiah is now in hot water after photos emerged of him alongside Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar. The surfaced image depicted him receiving a kiss on the cheek from the terrorist leader, who is known as the “Butcher of Khan Younis.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to X, the platform formally known as Twitter, to call the photojournalists involved “accomplices in crimes against humanity.”
Benny Gantz, a member in Israel’s war cabinet, said that the “journalists who knew about the massacre, who remained silent and took pictures” were “no different from the terrorists.”