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Press watchdog slams Israel bombing of Turkey news outlet in Gaza

May 10, 2019 at 12:25 pm

Fire rises after Israeli warplanes hit the building where Anadolu Agency’s office is located in Gaza on May 4, 2019 [Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency]

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has condemned “the Israeli bombing of Turkish-stated owned news outlet Anadolu Agency’s Gaza office” on 4 May, in a statement issued yesterday.

According to CPJ, citing various media reports and regional press freedom group Skeyes: “Israeli warplanes fired five missiles into the building housing the Anadolu Agency office, destroying the building but causing no casualties.”

“It is completely unacceptable for Israel to bomb and destroy the Gaza office of Turkey’s Anadolu Agency and endanger the lives of journalists, who are civilians and guaranteed protection under international law,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Representative Ignacio Miguel Delgado.

“Israeli authorities know where media outlets are housed in Gaza, and must ensure that journalists can do their jobs safely, without fear of being injured or killed,” he added.

READ: UN urges journalists’ safety after Anadolu’s office hit in Gaza 

Local sources reported that Israeli military planes first fired warning shots at the building at about 7pm.

“The employees working the evening shift told me that the building was being shelled, so I told them to leave the building immediately without trying to save any equipment,” Anadolu Agency‘s Gaza Director, Yasser Al-Bana, told Skeyes.

CPJ noted that “the office building housing Anadolu Agency, known as the Iktifan Building, was also home to the Asra Media Office, a Palestinian human rights organisation that advocates for prisoners”.

The Israeli military justified its attack by alleging that the building “housed Hamas’ military intelligence and general security offices”.

Anadolu Agency Deputy Director Mustafa Ozkaya, however, has said that Israeli forces “targeted us deliberately, not by mistake”.