The Israeli air force destroyed the tower in Gaza The city where the Associated Press and Al Jazeera offices are located in what has been widely described as an attack on press freedom.
Air strikes on Saturday – the sixth day in a row in between Israel and Hamas – came about an hour after the Israeli army ordered people to evacuate the al-Jalaa tower.
Previously, there was no immediate explanation as to why the 15-storey building was targeted. In addition to the two international media organizations, the high-rise building housed several other media outlets, offices, including several Internet service providers, and private apartments.
The building was hit about six times before collapsing into plumes of black smoke, which engulfed the entire neighborhood.
Al Jazeera broadcast a live phone call between the owner of the Abu Husam building and an Israeli intelligence officer in which Husam asked police officers to give media staff time to evacuate equipment from their offices. His request was denied.
A statement from the Israeli Defense Forces stated that the building contained military property that belonged to Hamas intelligence offices.
“Prior to the strike, the IDF warned civilians in the building in advance and allowed them enough time to evacuate the site,” the IDF said in a statement.
“Hamas deliberately places military targets in the heart of densely populated civilian areas Gaza Take off your clothes. “
AP reporter Fares Akram posted on Twitter just before hitting the tower: “We ran down the stairs from the 11th floor and now, looking at the building from a distance, praying that the Israeli army will eventually withdraw.”
Earlier on Saturday, Akram announced a piece in the first person in which he described how an Israeli bomb had destroyed his family’s farm in the northern Gaza Strip the day before. Six of his relatives, including his father, three friends and several colleagues, died in three wars and other hostilities between Israel and Hamas, he wrote.
“The Associated Press the office is the only place in Gaza City where I feel a little safe. The Israeli army has the coordinates of a multi-storey building, so it is less likely that a bomb will destroy it.
“But on a deeper level, it is addressing the people in Gaza, who are working to extract a voice from the territory that they cannot leave on their own, which makes me reasonable. When I tell the world what is going on here, I find little consolation. “
Mostefa Souag, acting director general of Al Jazeera’s media network, described the bombing of the company’s office as a “blatant violation of human rights” and a war crime, calling on the international community to condemn the attack and “hold Israel accountable for its deliberate targeting of journalists and media institutions.” .
Associated Press President and CEO Gary Pruitt said: “We are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military will target and destroy the building that houses the AP office and other news organizations in Gaza.
“This is an incredibly disturbing development. We narrowly escaped a terrible loss of life. ”
The current hostilities between militants in the Gaza Strip and Israel are the worst conflicts since the 2014 war. Several reports, citing Egyptian sources of mediation, say Israel rejected a ceasefire proposal agreed by Hamas, an Islamic group that controls the area, on Thursday night.
Since Monday night, Hamas has fired hundreds of rockets at Israel that hit the Gaza Strip. At least 139 people were killed in Gaza, including 39 children and 22 women; seven people were killed in Israel, including a six-year-old boy and a soldier.