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Associated Press wants independent investigation into Israel’s bombing of Gaza office

May 17, 2021 at 3:54 pm

Journalists of the Associated Press stand in shock next to the rubble of Jala Tower, which was housing international press offices, following an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip on May 15, 2021 [MOHAMMED ABED/AFP via Getty Images]

The executive editor of Associated Press wants an independent investigation into Israel’s bombing of the 13-storey Al-Jalaa Tower in Gaza on Saturday, which housed international media offices, including Al-Jazeera and AP itself. Sally Buzbee said that the agency had not yet seen any evidence from Israeli officials to justify the bombing.

An Anadolu Agency correspondent who witnessed the attack reported that several Israeli missiles hit the building. The Israeli military gave AP and other journalists and tenants an hour to evacuate the building. It was alleged that Hamas used the building as a military intelligence office and for weapons development.

However, Buzbee pointed out that AP has had offices in Al-Jalaa Tower for 15 years and has never been given any reason to think that the Palestinian resistance movement had a presence in the building. She insisted that the facts must be laid out.

“We’ve heard the Israelis say that they have evidence,” she told CNN’s “Reliable Sources” programme yesterday. “We don’t know what that evidence is. We think it is appropriate at this point for there to be an independent look at what happened.”

READ: Warnings of ‘terrible massacre’ planned by Israel against journalists

Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus said that evidence is being compiled for the US but declined to commit to providing it within the next couple of days.

- Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

No human rights in Gaza – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

According to Buzbee, AP journalists have been “rattled” since the airstrike but are doing fine and reporting the news out of Agence France-Presse’s offices in Gaza. She expressed concern about the impact on news coverage.

Reporters Without Borders has asked the International Criminal Court to investigate Israel’s bombing of the media tower and its evident “intentional targeting of media organisations and intentional destruction of their equipment” as a possible war crime.

“This has an impact on the world’s right to know what is happening on both sides of the conflict in real-time,” added Buzbee.