Blinken says U.S. received more information on Gaza high-rise bombing

·2-min read
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits Iceland

REYKJAVIK (Reuters) -U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday 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 organisations.

But he declined to comment further on it.

"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.

Israel's military said its fighter jets struck the multi-storey building because it was being used by the groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad and that terrorist attacks were directed from there, but has not made public any evidence for that claim.

The Associated Press’ top editor Sally Buzbee on Sunday said they were yet to see any evidence from Israeli officials to justify the bombing and added that her organization wants an independent investigation into the incident.

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

Ron Dermer, a former Israeli ambassador to Washington and now adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told CNN that evidence has been provided to Washington.

Brigadier-General Hidai Zilberman, chief Israeli military spokesman, told Israel's Army Radio on Tuesday that Hamas military intelligence offices were in the building, as well as assets of Islamic Jihad.

"These are people tasked with collecting information about IDF combat troops and the southern (Israeli) communities, in order to carry out all the attacks," Zilberman said of those allegedly based in the building. "These are the people who directed the terrorist attacks on the communities of the Gaza periphery."

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Additional reporting by Dan Williams; Editing by Catherine Evans and Giles Elgood)

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