World

Gaza tower housing Al Jazeera office destroyed by Israeli attack

Israel warned residents of the building, which also housed residential apartments and the PA office, to evacuate an hour before the airstrike.

A building that housed international media offices, including that of Al Jazeera in the Gaza Strip, was hit by an Israeli airstrike that demolished the structure.

It was not immediately clear whether there had been any casualties in Saturday’s attack. 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 bombarded as dust and debris s ‘flew through the air.

The building also housed the office of the Associated Press news agency.

Al Jazeera’s Safwat al-Kahlout, reporting from Gaza City, said a resident of the building received a call from the IDF warning him of the impending attack about an hour before he was touch.

Smoke rises after apartment building housing residential buildings, as well as Al Jazeera and Associated Press offices, collapses in Israeli airstrikes [Screen grab/ Al Jazeera]

Al-Kahlout, who was in the building at the time, said he and his colleagues “had started collecting as much as they could, from office staff and equipment, especially cameras.”

After seeing at least three missiles hitting the building and its subsequent collapse, al-Kahlout said he had worked in the building for 11 years and often reported live from its rooftop.

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

Dozens of structures have been demolished, sometimes after a warning phone call or “missile strike”, by Israeli attacks in the Palestinian enclave.

“Now you can understand the feeling 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.

Israel alleged that its “fighter jets attacked a high-rise building which housed military assets belonging to the military intelligence of the Hamas terrorist organization.”

“The building also housed civilian media offices, behind which the Hamas terrorist group is hiding and using as human shields,” he said.

Meanwhile, AP said on Saturday it was “shocked and horrified” by the Israeli airstrike.

“This is an incredibly disturbing development. We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life, ”said Gary Pruitt, President and CEO of AP, in a statement.

“The world will know less about what is going on in Gaza because of what happened today,” Pruitt said.

Reacting to news of the strike, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the Biden administration had told Israelis that the safety and security of journalists was “a primary responsibility.”

In Gaza, at least 140 people have been killed, including 39 children and 22 women, since the Israeli shelling began on Monday.

In Israel, at least nine people have been killed in rocket attacks by armed groups in Gaza.

Early Saturday, an airstrike struck a three-story house in Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, killing eight children and two women from an extended family.




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