WATCH: IDF Air Strike Destroys 12-Story Tower in Gaza Shared by AP, Al Jazeera and, Israel Says, Hamas Intel Assets
On Saturday Israeli Defense Forces gave a warning to evacuate before fighter jets then attacked and completely destroyed a 12-story building that housed offices for some international media outlets, including the Associated Press and Al Jazeera.
The building was safely evacuated in the time between the warning and the strike, and the AP confirms that no staff members were harmed.
AP staffers and other tenants safely evacuated the building after the military telephoned a warning that the strike was imminent within an hour. Three heavy missiles struck the 12-story building, collapsing it in a giant cloud of dust.
The IDF tweeted that the building contained “Hamas military intelligence assets” as well as “civilian media offices, which Hamas hides behind and deliberately uses as human shields.”
AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt released a statement saying the news agency is “shocked and horrified” by the strike, which they call a “disturbing development.”
“The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today,” AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said in a statement. “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.”
“This is an incredibly disturbing development. We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life,” he said, adding that the AP was seeking information from the Israeli government and was engaged with the U.S. State Department to learn more.
In a tweet thread, the IDF states that Hamas is using residential and other civilian areas in Gaza as “military strongholds,: and says the Hamas “uses tall buildings in Gaza for multiple military purposes such as intelligence gathering, planning attacks, command and control, and communications.”
“When Hamas uses a tall building for military purposes, it becomes a lawful military target,” they add.
5/ We’ll say it again: When Hamas places military assets inside such a building, it becomes a lawful military target. This is clear international law.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 15, 2021
Other angles on the destruction were shared on social media on Saturday.
VIDEO: IDF airstrike destroys the Al-Jalaa building in Gaza, used as the offices of AP and Al-Jazeera. pic.twitter.com/I1HCr3Ld5k
— Conflict News (@Conflicts) May 15, 2021
Al Jazeera’s Safwat al-Kahlout, who was in the building at the time occupants were warned to evacuate, reported that they ” “started to collect as much as they could, from the personal and equipment of the office, especially the cameras”.
“Now, one can understand the feeling of the people whose homes have been destroyed by such kind of air attacks,” he said. “It’s really difficult to wake up one day and then you realize that your office is not there with all the career experiences, memories that you’ve had.”
Al Jazeera put out a statement condemning the strike.
“Al Jazeera condemns in the strongest terms the bombing and destruction of its offices by the Israeli military in Gaza and views this as a clear act to stop journalists from conducting their sacred duty to inform the world and report events on the ground,” it reads. “Al Jazeera promises to pursue every available route to hold the Israeli government responsible for its actions.”
This is a developing story and may be updated.
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