A Palestinian woman working as a freelance journalist for NBC News was arrested in Israel on suspicion of inciting and glorifying terror and identifying with a terrorist organization, according to reports.
Mirvat al-Azzeh, a 45-year-old woman who lives in East Jerusalem, was arrested and jailed last Thursday after sharing four posts on Facebook about Hamas’ barbaric surprise attack on October 7 that killed more than 1,200 people in Israel.
The precise content of the posts remains unknown, but they were described by authorities at a Jerusalem Magistrate Court as ‘inciting and glorifying horrible acts committed against civilians,’ according to the Jerusalem Post.
On Monday, NBC said it had severed ties with al-Azzeh.
The New York Post reported that the network, owned by Comcast, said: ‘Before we recently retained Marwat Azzeh for services as a freelance producer, we were not aware of her personal social media activity that provided the basis for the Israeli investigation.’
A spokesperson for NBC told Dailymail.com that the investigation ‘is unrelated to NBC News.’
Palestinian journalist Marwat al-Azzeh was fired by NBC News after being arrested last week in Israel for inciting and glorifying terror
Al-Azzeh had been reporting for the mainstream US outlet on the ongoing confluct in the Middle East, most recently the conditions at Gaza City’s al-Shifa Hospital
‘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. Azzeh four weeks ago. She will not be contributing to our coverage going forward,’ they continued.
An individual familiar with the situation at NBC said that the freelancer had been engaged by the outlet around October 21, but that her social media activity prior to that date was not consistent with the network’s standards.
However, a limited review of her work for NBC News did not uncover any problems.
The Post reported that al-Azzeh’s most recent byline at NBC ran on November 12 – less than a week before her arrest.
She reported that the newborns at Gaza City’s al-Shifa Hospital were dying as the struggling facility, also widely believed to be a Hamas command center, runs out of fuel and supplies.
The Jerusalem Post reported that al-Azzeh arrived ‘ready for arrest,’ sans cellphone, but equipped with phone numbers written on her leg.
Israeli police first requested permission from the prosecutor’s office to question the journalist last month. She has reportedly cooperated fully with the authorities.
Al-Azzeh admitted to the offenses of which she is accused last week.
Her attorney told the J-Post: ‘The woman in question is an ordinary woman, who works as a journalist and whose work is important to us all.’
‘She was asked during her investigation about her employment. I believe she admitted to all the deeds described to her, and cooperated fully with the investigation.
‘She did not attempt to conceal the offenses or claim that her accounts had been hacked. Even when she didn’t have a mobile phone, which is the main tool involved, she still said, ”Yes, those are my posts”.’
Palestinians inspect the rubble of a destroyed structure following Israeli air strikes in Rafah town in the southern Gaza Strip, 20 November 2023
Al-Azzeh was arrested last Thursday and held until a Friday hearing. From there, her detention was extended an additional four days, according to the Israeli outlet.
It’s not yet clear how much prison time the journalist could be facing.
Several months before the Hamas attack on Israel, Al-Azzeh posted a 24-minute video to YouTube titled: ‘See the full story: An x-ray technician harasses journalist Mervat Al-Azzeh and grabs her breasts!!’
In it, she recounts being assaulted at a hospital in the West Bank. In Arabic, she reportedly recalls feeling pressured by authorities to drop the complaint against her attacker.
Al-Azzeh’s arrest comes as several mainstream US news outlets, including Reuters, CNN, the New York Times and more, come under fire for employing and using the work of photojournalists who embedded with Hamas terrorists during the initial terror attack.