An Israeli airstrike has destroyed a multi-storey building that housed the offices of media entities like Associated Press and Al-Jazeera, in the restive Gaza strip. The building also had other offices and residential apartments. The strike came around an hour after the Israeli forces warned to evacuate the high-rise building. Scores of people, including women and children, have been killed in Israeli strikes in Gaza since Monday. Hamas has also fired hundreds of rockets into Israel during the period, killing 10 people.
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Al Jazeera said Saturday it would not be silenced, after an Israeli air strike on Gaza demolished the building housing the Qatar-based broadcaster as well as US news agency The Associated Press, AFP reported.
”It is clear that those who are waging this war do not only want to spread destruction and death in Gaza, but also to silence media that are witnessing, documenting and reporting the truth of what is happening in Gaza,” said Walid al-Omari, Al Jazeera’s Jerusalem bureau chief.
According to foreign media, Hamas has fired over 2,000 rockets into Israel since Monday, killing 10 people and injuring 560. 139 Gazans have been killed and 950 wounded.
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 organisation,” 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.
Wael al-Dahdouh, Al Jazeera’s bureau chief in Gaza told news agency AFP: “It’s terrible, very sad, to target the Al Jazeera and other press bureaux”.
Jawad Mehdi, the owner of the Jala Tower, said an Israeli intelligence officer warned him he had just one hour to ensure the evacuation of the building, news agency AFP reported.
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.
Israel “destroyed Jala Tower in the Gaza Strip, which contains the Al-Jazeera office and other international press offices,” Al-Jazeera said in a tweet.