Israel’s attack on a press building in Gaza draws condemnations.


The distinguished 12-story building in Gaza City that was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike on Saturday not solely housed the places of work of media organizations together with The Associated Press and Al Jazeera.

It additionally provided a vantage level for the world on Gaza, as A.P. cameras positioned on the roof terrace captured Israeli bombardments and Palestinian militants’ rocket assaults throughout periodic flare-ups in combating — including over the past week.

“The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what transpired today,” the A.P.’s president, Gary Pruitt, mentioned in a assertion following the Israeli attack.

The leveling of the al-Jalaa tower, which occurred as combating between Israelis and Palestinians spiraled on a number of fronts, drew condemnations from internationally. The Israel Defense Forces mentioned that its fighter jets struck the tower as a result of it additionally contained navy property belonging to Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that guidelines the Gaza Strip.

Mr. Pruitt referred to as on the I.D.F. to current proof to assist its allegation, including that the information company had operated from the building for 15 years.

“We have had no indication Hamas was in the building or active in the building,” he mentioned. “This is something we actively check to the best of our ability. We would never knowingly put our journalists at risk.”

On Sunday, the I.D.F. tweeted that the building was “an important base of operations” for Hamas navy intelligence, the place it “gathered intel for attacks against Israel, manufactured weapons & positioned equipment to hamper I.D.F. operations.”

The I.D.F. — which ceaselessly accuses Hamas of utilizing civilians as shields — offered advance warning to civilians in the building to permit evacuation. The A.P. reported that the proprietor of the building, Jawad Mahdi, was “told he had an hour to make sure everyone has left the building.”

In the minutes earlier than the airstrike, Mr. Mahdi was filmed desperately pleading with the Israeli Army, asking them to permit 4 journalists who had been filming an interview — with the daddy of 4 youngsters slain in an Israeli strike on a refugee camp on Saturday morning — an additional 10 minutes to retrieve their belongings.

An Israeli soldier advised him: “There will be no 10 minutes.”

Minutes later, the building was destroyed, engulfed in a plume of black smoke.

The A.P. mentioned that it “narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life,” and that a dozen journalists and freelancers contained in the building evacuated earlier than the strike. The building additionally housed residences on the decrease flooring.

Press freedom teams mentioned that the strike — coming a day after the Israeli Army erroneously told foreign media that floor troops had entered Gaza — raised considerations that Israel was interfering with impartial reporting on the battle. In a assertion, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists questioned whether or not the I.D.F. was “deliberately targeting media facilities in order to disrupt coverage of the human suffering in Gaza.”

A White House spokeswoman, Jennifer Psaki, tweeted that the United States had “communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility.” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres mentioned that he was “deeply disturbed” by the strike and warned that “indiscriminate targeting of civilian and media structures” would violate worldwide regulation.

After the strike, journalists from different information organizations gathered close to the rubble. Heba Akila, an Al Jazeera journalist who had been broadcasting from the tower when the warning name was made, mentioned: “This is clearly to silence the truth and the voices of journalists.”





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