Nova festival massacre survivors sue AP for hiring photographers accused of being Hamas members

Survivors of the October 7 massacre are suing the Associated Press (AP) for aiding a terrorist organization by hiring freelance photojournalists who allegedly participated in the massacre, according to The Standard.

The group, composed of Israeli-Americans and Americans, are suing for damages under the Anti-Terrorism Act in the Southern District of Florida Federal Court.

The suit alleges that AP knew about the men’s affiliation with Hamas and that AP hired them despite that.

“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 lawsuit states according to Jewish News.

One of the journalists in question is Hassan Eslaiah, who rode into Israel on the back of a motorbike with Hamas members. CNN hired Eslaiah after October 7 as a freelancer and did not have “any reason to doubt the journalistic accuracy of the work he has done for us,” as reported by The Jerusalem Post.

Israeli soldiers inspect the burnt cars of festival-goers at the site of an attack on the Nova Festival by Hamas gunmen from Gaza, near Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel, October 13, 2023. (credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)

Eslaiah took several photos of the massacre such as burning tanks but also a room filled with blood and bodies.

Claimed ignorance

He claims to have had no prior notice of the attack, however, the Post can verify that he posted to his Telegram channel 5:59 a.m. “We wake up to the great gifts of God. The spirit has returned, and our blessings have increased.”

This was a full half an hour before the attack began, throughout the morning he kept posting more messages and images from the massacre.

Despite his claims that he has no affiliation with Hamas, Eslaiah was seen receiving a kiss from Hamas military chief Yahya Sinwar in 2020.

Two other journalists accused of being part of the October 7 massacre, Yousef Masoud and Samar Abu Elouf won the George Polk Award from Long Island University on Thursday. Their employer, The New York Times, defended the decision to keep them on calling the allegations against them “vague”.