In the latest in a series of attacks, Israeli occupation airstrike has flattened 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.
An AP statement said all employees and freelancers safely evacuated the building. AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said the company is looking to the Israeli government for answers.
“We are shocked and horrified that the Israeli occupation military would target and destroy the building housing AP’s bureau and other news organizations in Gaza,” he said. “They have long known the location of our bureau and knew journalists were there.
“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.”
“We are shocked and horrified that the Israeli occupation military would target and destroy the building housing AP’s bureau and other news organizations in Gaza,” Pruitt said. “This is an incredibly disturbing development. We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life… The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today.”
The owner of the building says he had received a call from the Israeli occupation military that the building would be targeted.
Jawwad Mahdi said he was told to go into the building to make sure all residents have evacuated. He was told he had an hour to make sure everyone has left the building.
The Associated Press said it is seeking information from the Israeli government and is engaged with the US State Department to try to learn more about what happened.
Staffers and residents of the building fled in a panic after being told of the warning.
Following the attack, the Israel occupation Forces released a statement saying the building was attacked because it was used by Hamas intelligence offices. IDF provided advanced warning to the building’s civilian occupants before fighter jets attacked, providing “sufficient time” to evacuate, it said.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced via Twitter that Washington has expressed concerns for journalists’ safety to Israeli officials.
We have communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility.
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) May 15, 2021
President Biden raised concerns about the safety and security of journalists and reinforced the need to ensure their protection.”
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 occupation forces shot and killed 11 people Friday during Palestinian protests in the West Bank.
Protests against Israel’s occupation use of force have erupted around the globe. Al-Jazeera reported demonstrators have taken to the streets in Australia, France, Morocco, Pakistan, Spain, the United States and the United Kingdom.
In Paris, protesters Saturday were met by police armed with tear gas and water cannons. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin requested that police ban marches against the attacks on Gaza, arguing the protests could turn violent, Reuters reported.
This week Israel occupation strike Gaza with aerial and artillery fire. At least 139 martyrs have been killed in Gaza and eight people have been killed in Israel.