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Netanyahu slams journalists tied to Hamas as CNN cuts ties with photographer seen getting kiss from terror group leader


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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday ripped mainstream Western media for working with photojournalists embedded with Hamas – calling them “accomplices in crimes against humanity” – as CNN formally severed ties with a freelancer who was photographed getting a kiss from the terror group’s leader.

Netanhayu’s office tweeted Thursday that it “views with utmost gravity that photojournalists working with international media joined in covering the brutal acts of murder perpetrated by Hamas terrorists on October 7th.

“These journalists were accomplices in crimes against humanity; their actions were contrary to professional ethics,” the leader said — demanding “immediate action be taken” by the outlets helping to employ them.

The anger followed a bombshell investigation by media watchdog Honest Reporting into journalists who were there to document the surprise Oct. 7 attack that killed more than 1,400 people, with more than 240 others taken hostage.

Overnight, Israel Minister of Communications Dr. Shlomo Karhi issued a scathing letter to the outlets named in the investigation — Reuters, The Associated Press, CNN, and The New York Times.

“The gravity of the situation demands a swift and thorough response. It is now a time for individuals, journalists, institutions, unions, and organizations around the world to make a clear choice,” he wrote in the missive, which he shared on X.

“We must decide whether we stand on the side of life and good and on the side of depraved terrorism, inhumanity, and evil.”

The allegations published late Wednesday accused a handful of photojournalists of being too close to the terror group, suggesting it was why they were there for the Oct. 7 attack that took Israel by surprise. Many were seen without press identification at the time.

Benny Gantz, a member of Israel’s war cabinet, said that “journalists who knew about the massacre, who remained silent and took pictures” were “no different from the terrorists.”

CNN was the first to cut ties with one of those identified — even while standing by his work for them.

The freelancer, Hassan Eslaiah, was even once pictured smiling while getting a kiss on the cheek from Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, who is now known as the “Butcher of Khan Younis.”

CNN was the first to cut ties with one of those identified — even while standing by his work for them.

“We are aware of the article and photo concerning Hassan Eslaiah, a freelance photojournalist who has worked with a number of international and Israeli outlets,” CNN told YnetNews early Thursday.

Follow along with The Post’s live blog for the latest on Hamas’ attack on Israel

“While we have not at this time found reason to doubt the journalistic accuracy of the work he has done for us, we have decided to suspend all ties with him.”

Eslaiah – a freelancer who also worked for the AP – shared since-deleted tweets on the attack that placed him at the scene of Hamas’ incursion into Kibbutz Kfar Azza, and did not appear to be wearing a press vest or helmet, the report alleged.

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