‘We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life,’ says news organization’s president
Israeli Airstrikes Hit Building Housing Associated Press
A view of the building in Gaza City housing international media after it was bombed. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
camera-icon View 4 more images
(Newser) – An Israeli airstrike on Saturday targeted and destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza City that housed offices of the Associated Press and other media outlets. 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. For 15 years, the AP’s top-floor office and roof terrace were a prime location for covering Israel’s conflicts with Gaza’s Hamas rulers, including wars in 2009 and 2014. The news agency’s camera offered 24-hour live shots as militants’ rockets arched toward Israel and Israeli airstrikes hammered the city and its surrounding area this week.
“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,” said AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt. “We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life.” The building also housed the offices of Qatari-run Al-Jazeera TV, as well as residential apartments. The Israeli military said Hamas was operating inside the building, a standard explanation, and it accused the militant group of using journalists as human shields. But it provided no evidence to back up the claims. Hours earlier, another Israeli air raid on a densely populated refugee camp killed at least 10 Palestinians from an extended family, mostly children, the deadliest single strike of the current conflict.