On Saturday, Israeli warplanes destroyed a building in Gaza with offices of various foreign media outlets and press agencies, including Al Jazeera and the Associated Press.
An Anadolu Agency correspondent who witnessed the Israeli attack reported that several Israeli missiles hit the building, completely decimating it.
“We are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP’s bureau and other news organisations in Gaza,” Associated Press CEO and President Gary Pruitt said in a statement.
Al Jazeera condemned Israel’s airstrike and called on the international community to protect journalists. Israel’s “barbaric” act targeted the lives of journalists and aims to prevent them from revealing the truth, the outlet said.
“Al Jazeera promises its audience to continue its coverage and to uncover the truth on what is happening in Gaza, the Palestinian Territories, and in Israel, regardless of the suppression attempts.” It also vowed, “to pursue every available route to hold the Israeli government responsible for its actions.”
Meanwhile, the US told Israel that the security of journalists and independent media is a “paramount responsibility”. “We have communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility,” said White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki on Twitter.
Al Jazeera’s Gaza office head Vail ed-Dehduh told reporters that “it is very clear that Israel is uncomfortable with the role played by Al Jazeera and other media outlets in Gaza…However, in the end, these broadcasters are doing their job impartially and properly.”
Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip in airstrikes since May 10, killing at least 139 people, including 39 children and 22 women, and injuring 950 more people.
At least four multi-story buildings have also been destroyed in the air raids on the besieged Palestinian territory.