Who Is Hassan Eslaiah? CNN Fires Freelance Gaza Photographer Following Claims He and Three Others Had Prior Knowledge of Hamas Attack on Oct 7: Report

Yousef Masoud, Ali Mahmud, and Hatem Ali are three other photojournalists who have been supplying photos of the conflict to Western media outlets since October 7.

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CNN has severed all ties with a freelance photojournalist who was seemingly embedded with Hamas during the terror group's attack on Israel on October 7. Hassan Eslaiah has been sending photos of the fighting to CNN and The Associated Press since the October 7 attack by Hamas. Among them are images of an Israeli tank that was on fire and used to kidnap soldiers.

However, an Israeli diplomat shared a report on social media on Thursday indicating that when Hamas terrorists attacked Israel on October 7, freelance photojournalists for major media outlets and international news agencies were present. The report suggested that these photojournalists had prior knowledge of the attack.

Dangerous Liaison, Serious Allegations

Hassan Eslaiah Yahya Sinwar
Hassan Eslaiah seen with Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar X

On Thursday, CNN fired Eslaiah after photographs of him posing with Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas, surfaced. He also posted a since-deleted video on Twitter, in which he explained how Israeli soldiers were kidnapped by Hamas fighters from the flaming tank, the Daily Mail reported.

Eslaiah is among four photojournalists whose work has raised questions.

Yousef Masoud, Ali Mahmud, and Hatem Ali are three other photojournalists who have been supplying photos of the conflict to Western media outlets since October 7. They've collaborated with CNN, The Associated Press, Reuters, and The New York Times, as detailed in an investigation by Honest Reporting, the outlet reported.

The report was shared by Israel's consul general in Toronto, Idit Shamir, on X.

Serious concerns exist regarding the knowledge and timing of information possessed by each of the photojournalists.

Israel's government has demanded an explanation from the media outlets involved, all of which have refuted having prior knowledge of the attack.

Hassan Eslaiah
Hassan Eslaiah posted a video on October 7 that shows the capture of an Israeli tank by Hamas terrorists X

In response to the backlash, a spokesperson from CNN told DailyMail.com, "We had no prior knowledge of the October 7th attacks."

"Hassan Eslaiah, who was a freelance journalist working for us and many other outlets, was not working for the network on October 7th.

"As of today, we have severed all ties with him."

Agencies, Media Outlets Severe Ties

The Associated Press, in its statement, refuted having any forewarning of the attack and maintained that the first photos it received were taken after the attack had begun.

Noa Argamani
Noa Argamani seen being kidnapped by Hamas militants as she screams "Don't kill me." X

"The first pictures AP received from any freelancer show they were taken more than an hour after the attacks began. No AP staff were at the border at the time of the attacks, nor did any AP staffer cross the border at any time," AP said in a statement, as reported by DailyMail.com.

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

"AP uses images taken by freelancers around the world. When we accept freelance photos, we take great steps to verify the authenticity of the images and that they show what is purported.

Shani Louk
Shani Louk X

"The role of the AP is to gather information on breaking news events around the world, wherever they happen, even when those events are horrific and cause mass casualties."

Photographers Mohammed Fayq Abu Mostafa and Yasser Qudih "happened to be at the border just in time for Hamas' infiltration," according to Honest Reporting. A Reuters representative, in response to the reporters, clarified that the agency bought photos from photographers on October 7 with whom it had no prior affiliation.

Israel music festival
Revelers at the music festival seen running to save their lives as Hamas militants launched an attack on them X

"The photographs published by Reuters were taken two hours after Hamas fired rockets across southern Israel and more than 45 minutes after Israel said gunmen had crossed the border. Reuters staff journalists were not on the ground at the locations referred to in the HonestReporting article," the statement read.

"Did the photojournalists who freelance for other media, like CNN and The New York Times, notify these outlets? Judging from the pictures of lynching, kidnapping and storming of an Israeli kibbutz, it seems like the border has been breached not only physically, but also journalistically," the HonestReporting feature read, according to DailyMail.com.

In the video depicting the attack, Eslaiah seems to be wearing his personal clothing and is not easily identifiable as a member of the media.