NBC News has cut ties with a journalist whom Israel arrested on suspicion of inciting terror and identifying with a terrorist group after Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks.
A police representative at a Friday hearing of the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court claimed that Marwat Al-Azza, a 45-year-old freelancer formerly employed by NBC News, chose “to incite and glorify the horrible acts committed against civilians,” according to the Jerusalem Post. The arrest occurred after Azza made Facebook posts regarding the attacks, the outlet reported.
“The investigation of Ms. Azza is unrelated to NBC News. It is based on her personal Facebook posts that predate her time with us as a freelancer. We were not aware of those posts before we engaged Ms. Azza four weeks ago. She will not be contributing to our coverage going forward,” NBC News told the Washington Free Beacon on Monday.
One of Azza’s posts, according to Haaretz, allegedly mocked the kidnapping of an elderly Israeli woman. “It’s killing me, it’s a black comedy, the old woman looks happy, a bit of action before she dies,” the post read.
She wrote in another: “Sirens all the time, the Jews are hiding and the Arabs are out drinking coffee on their balconies.” She also said she felt like she was “watching a movie where the director is Palestinian and the protagonists are from Gaza.”
Azza’s defense attorney said at a hearing Friday that Azza confirmed that the posts were hers, according to the Jerusalem Post.
“This is a normative woman, engaged in journalism, and her role is very important to everyone,” the attorney claimed. “She was asked in her investigation about her work. I believe that in the things attributed to her, she cooperated fully. She did not try to hide, saying ‘I had a hacker.’”
“Even when she did not have a phone, which is the main tool, she said, ‘Indeed, these are my posts,’ and this eliminates a thousand disruptive actions,” the attorney added.
However, Haaretz reported that the attorney admitted Azza deleted some of her posts, though he added that she did not do so to conceal evidence.
Azza earlier this year claimed that she was the victim of sexual harassment at a medical center in Bethlehem and that the Palestinian Ministry of Health did not properly handle her case.
NBC’s decision to no longer work with Azza comes at a time when several outlets have come under scrutiny for the freelancers they employ. CNN and the Associated Press cut ties with freelance photojournalist Hassan Eslaiah after a photo emerged apparently showing him receiving a kiss from Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar.
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