Israeli bombs destroy Gaza media center; AP, Al-Jazeera, others withdrawn


Israeli bombs destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza City on Saturday that housed the offices of the Associated Press, Al-Jazeera and other media, the latest move by Israel to silence reporting from Gaza in the midst of its military bombardments. The Israeli air raid completely demolished the structure.

Live video from Al Jazeera showed the 11-story al-Jalaa building, which also houses a number of residences and other offices, crashing to the ground after being shelled as dust and debris flew in in the air.

The strike came just hours after another Israeli bombardment of a densely populated refugee camp in Gaza City killed at least eight Palestinian children and two women from an extended family, in the deadliest strike of Israel’s current assault.

AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt issued the following statement:

We are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military is targeting and destroying the building housing the PA office and other news agencies in Gaza. They have known the location of our office for a long time and knew that journalists were there. We received a warning that the building would be hit.

We are seeking information from the Israeli government and are engaged with the US State Department to try to find out more.

It is an incredibly disturbing development. We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life. A dozen journalists and AP freelancers were inside the building and luckily we were able to evacuate them in time.

The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today.

Al Jazeera’s Safwat al-Kahlout, who reported from Gaza City, said he had worked in the building for 11 years and often reported live from his rooftop.

“I have covered a lot of events from this building,” he said. “We have a lot of good memories with our colleagues”.

It was not immediately clarified why the building was targeted by Israel.

“Now, no one can understand the feelings of people whose homes have been destroyed by this kind of airstrikes,” al-Kahlout said. “It’s really hard to wake up one day and then you realize that your office is not there with all the career experiences, the memories that you have had. “


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