[News] Israel bombs Gaza building used by Middle East Eye, Al Jazeera and AP

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Sat May 15 13:46:11 EDT 2021


middleeasteye.net
<https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/gaza-israel-bombs-building-used-middle-east-eye-al-jazeera-and-ap>
Israel
bombs Gaza building used by Middle East Eye, Al Jazeera and AP
By Alex MacDonald , Mohammed al-Hajjar - May 15, 2021
------------------------------

Israel on Saturday bombed a building in Gaza used by a number of news
outlets, including Middle East Eye, Al Jazeera and the Associated Press.

Reporters and media workers said they had fled the al-Jalaa tower in Gaza
City after being issued a one-hour notice by the Israeli army, which later
destroyed the building.

Mohammed al-Hajjar <https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mohammed-al-hajjar>,
a photojournalist for MEE, was among those who left the building.

<https://www.middleeasteye.net/live/israel-palestine-sheikh-jarrah-jerusalem-update>

Live: Israel bombs Gaza building used by Middle East Eye, Al Jazeera and AP
after one-hour ultimatum

Read More »
<https://www.middleeasteye.net/live/israel-palestine-sheikh-jarrah-jerusalem-update>

Speaking by phone, he said he had left his laptop behind but had managed to
grab his hard-drive and camera. He said the evacuation was a scene of panic
and chaos as people rushed to take whatever they could and get out as best
as they could.

Returning to re-inspect the remains, there was only wreckage.

"There's nothing left but our memories," he said.

So far, no casualties have been reported.

The 12-storey building contained 60 residential units, with a number of
offices for international media including Al Jazeera and the Associated
Press, as well as Arab and local press.

In a statement, the Israeli army said it had struck the building becuase it
housed "entities belonging to the military intelligence of the terrorist
organization Hamas" without elaborating.

A number of journalists tweeted about the incoming strike.

"And now bombs could fall on our office. We ran down the stairs from the
11th floor and now looking at the building from afar, praying Israeli army
would eventually retract," wrote Fares Akram, AP's Gaza correspondent.

Wael Al-Dahdouh, Al Jazeera's senior reporter in Gaza, told MEE that the
bombing of their office would "not cover the image of the truth, nor will
it silence it".

"Regardless of why Israel bombed the building, we reaffirm that we will
continue to do our job, fulfil our duty and deliver the message, even if we
have to do it from the street or the car or any other place," he said.

"As long as journalists are alive, healthy and determined to do their jobs,
they will continue this mission of covering the truth as if this building
was still standing."

Shortly before the strike, Al Jazeera aired a phone call between the owner
of al-Jalaa and an Israeli intelligence officer.

'[The attack] raises the spectre that the Israeli army are liberally
attacking media facilities to distrupt coverage of what is happening in
Gaza and the human suffering there'

*- Ignacio Miguel Delgado, Committee to Protect Journalists*

The owner, named by Al Jazeera as Abu Hossam, asked to be given more time
to evacuate equipment from the offices.

"There's no bad people here, just journalists," he was quoted as saying.
"Just give us 10 more mins to get the cameras out."

The intelligence officer declined his request.

"Do what you want, we can't stop you. Our lives' work is gone, our memories
are gone, our lives are gone, we have God to turn to," said Hossam.

Health officials in the enclave said Israeli air and artillery strikes
since Monday have killed 139 people including 39 children in Gaza while
more than 1,000 have been wounded.

Ignacio Miguel Delgado, Middle East and North Africa representative of the
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), condemned the attack on the
building in Gaza and called for accountability.

He told MEE the attack on the building "raises the spectre that the Israeli
army are liberally attacking media facilities to distrupt coverage of what
is happening in Gaza and the human suffering there".

"We would like the Israeli authorities to give a detailed and documented
justification for this military attack on a civilian facility, considering
they know exactly what kind of media outlets are operating there and this
may be also a violation of international humanitarian law," he said.

In a statement <https://twitter.com/PressSec/status/1393577210964058115>
released on Twitter, the White House said it had communicated to Israel that
"ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a
paramount responsibility."
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