Israel’s communications minister has accused four freelance Gaza-based journalists who have worked with Western outlets of knowing that Hamas was going to attack Israel.

Shlomo Karhi told Reuters, AP, CNN and the New York Times that “individuals within your organization… had prior knowledge of these horrific actions”.

Reuters, AP, CNN and the New York Times denied any prior knowledge.

Such “unsupported accusations” endangered freelancers, the NYT added.

Hamas launched devastating and unprecedented attacks on southern Israel on 7 October, killing more than 1,400 Israeli civilians and soldiers, and kidnapping more than 240.

Images filed by the photographers included a burning Israeli tank, Palestinians breaching a fence at the Kfar Aza kibbutz and scenes from the attack itself.

Mr Karhi said that the attack took place while the photographers were present, “documenting these horrors, effectively becoming participants in this horrifying event”.

It follows a suggestion made by pro-Israel website Honest Reporting that the presence of the photographers may have been “part of the plan”.

Benny Gantz, a member of Israel’s war cabinet, has since said the photojournalists should be treated as terrorists if it is proven they knew in advance of the 7 October attacks.

“Journalists found to have known about the massacre, and [who] still chose to stand as idle bystanders while children were slaughtered, are no different than terrorists and should be treated as such,” Mr Gantz, a former defence minister and opposition leader who joined the government after the attacks, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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