Israeli Airstrike Flattens Building Housing The Associated Press (AP), Al-Jazeera, And Other Non-Friendly Media In Gaza City
In the latest in a series of attacks, an Israeli airstrike Saturday leveled a high-rise building after the military ordered occupants to evacuate. Inside were the offices of several media outlets — including The Associated Press and Al-Jazeera— and residential apartments. AP staffers and other tenants safely evacuated the building after the Israeli military telephoned a warning that the strike was imminent.
An AP statement said all employees and freelancers safely evacuated the building.
AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said "We are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP's bureau and other news organizations in Gaza," Pruitt said in a statement released by the news agency. "They have long known the location of our bureau and knew journalists were there. We received a warning that the building would be hit."
"We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life. A dozen AP journalists and freelancers were inside the building and thankfully we were able to evacuate them in time."
"The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today," Pruitt said. And that was probably exactly the successful target.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced via Twitter that Washington has expressed “concerns” for journalists' safety to Israeli officials.
There was no immediate explanation for the attack that brought down the 12-story building.
The strike came only hours after another air assault killed at least 10 Palestinians, mostly children, in a densely populated refugee camp. The attack on the camp was the deadliest offensive in the recent conflict between Israeli and Arab forces, AP reported.
The most recent escalation of conflict began a week ago, with combat and rioting erupting throughout Israel. Israeli forces shot and killed 11 people Friday during Palestinian protests in the West Bank.
This week, Hamas has fired hundreds of rockets into Israel, which has hit Gaza with aerial and artillery fire. At least 139 people have been killed in Gaza and eight people have been killed in Israel, the AP reports.