Gaza tower housing Al Jazeera, AP offices destroyed in Israeli bombing
An Israeli airstrike destroyed a high-rise building housing Al Jazeera, AP and other media offices in Gaza on Saturday. The attack was aimed at silencing the media during the Israeli military’s ongoing battle with Palestinian militant group Hamas.
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.
In a phone call with the officer, AFP heard him beg for an extra 10 minutes to allow journalists to retrieve their equipment before leaving. “Give us ten extra minutes,” he urged, but the officer on the other end of the line refused.
Wael al-Dahdouh, Al Jazeera’s bureau chief in Gaza told AFP: “It’s terrible, very sad, to target the Al Jazeera and other press bureaus.”
Video footage broadcast by Al Jazeera showed the moment the 13-story building collapsed after the strike as plumes of dark smoke rose in the sky.
“The tower has come down,” the anchorwoman said in the video. “Whenever you see journalists doing live updates from Gaza, they’re usually standing on the roof of that building which has now been flattened by an airstrike by the Israeli military,” she added.