An Israeli airstrike has destroyed a high-rise building that housed The Associated Press offices in the Gaza Strip. The airstrike Saturday came roughly an hour after the Israeli military ordered people to evacuate the building. There was no immediate explanation for why the building was targeted. The building houses The Associated Press, Al Jazeera, and a number of offices and apartments.
The development comes hours after an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on Saturday killed at least 10 Palestinians, a majority of whom were children, AP reported.
Since Monday night, Hamas has fired hundreds of rockets into Israel, which has pounded the Gaza Strip with strikes. In Gaza, at least 139 people have been killed, including 39 children and 22 women; in Israel, eight people have been killed, including the death Saturday of a man killed by a rocket that hit Ramat Gan, a suburb of Tel Aviv.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has called for foreign ministers of the world’s largest body of Muslim nations to hold a meeting Sunday. The gathering is to discuss Israeli acts of violence against Palestinians and the Israeli police’s use of force against protesters at Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.
The White House said it has cautioned Israel about the importance of protecting independent media after an Israeli airstrike in Gaza destroyed a building housing the bureaus of the Associated Press and Al Jazeera.
“We have communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted
Israel has alleged that Hamas had its military assets in the building. It alleged that the terror group used the media as human shields.
“Fighter jets attacked a high-rise building which hosted military assets belonging to the military intelligence of the Hamas terror organization,” the country was quoted as saying by AFP.
“The building also hosted offices of civilian media outlets, which the Hamas terror group hides behind and uses as human shields,” it added.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said on Friday that Israel had no plans of stopping its attacks against Hamas in Gaza.
“They attacked our capital, they fired rockets at our cities. They’re paying and will continue to pay dearly for that,” he said.