Update: So far the Biden administration has stopped short of condemning the Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza offices of US-based Associated Press and other international media outlets, which flattened the 12-story Al-Jalaa tower, resulting in widespread outrage from journalists and media rights organizations across the globe.
Hours after the attack Joe Biden as reportedly phoned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to express Washington’s “concerns” and to convey the “paramount responsibility” to protect journalists.
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) May 15, 2021
This also as the death toll continues to soar amid unrelenting airstrikes – also as Hamas rockets continue to fly toward Israel – at over 140 Gazans killed since Monday.
Al Jazeera's office in Gaza destroyed by an Israeli airstrike. The building also housed residential apartments and the AP bureau. This is the 6th consecutive day Israel has been bombing Gaza. The Gaza death toll is at 140, including 39 children. pic.twitter.com/2rNm9eMIaG
— IMEU (@theIMEU) May 15, 2021
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Update: The White House has said it communicated its “concerns” to Israel over the safety of journalists after IDF airstrikes obliterated the 12-story office building that housed international media headquarters in Gaza, most notably the AP and Al Jazeera…
“We have communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility,” White House press secretary Psaki wrote.
We have communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility.
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) May 15, 2021
AP CEO Gary Pruitt previously said in a statement: “We are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP’s bureau and other news organizations in Gaza. They have long known the location of our bureau and knew journalists were there. We received a warning that the building would be hit.”
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Israel has targeted yet another large office and residential tower in the Gaza Strip, but this time its warplanes have destroyed the 12-story building housing the media offices of the U.S.-based Associated Press and Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera, the AP itself as well as Reuters eyewitnesses confirm.
The outlets have said that Israel issued advanced warning of the airstrikes of up to one hour before the attack on Al-Jalaa tower. Representatives with the AP and the building owner had reportedly pleaded with IDF officials to give more time to enable a safe evacuation and also to take out crucial media equipment.
Oh my god. The building where al Jazeera’s office is housed has just been taken down by Israeli airstrikes. There was a warning and evacuated. It houses offices and private homes. I can’t believe it. pic.twitter.com/Q4luRYk9H9
— Stefanie Dekker (@StefanieDekker) May 15, 2021
However, eyewitnesses say they were not given extra time, but merely made it out with whatever they had in hand and with their own lives.
The building can be seen essentially collapsing in its own footprint, the same way that three prior residential apartment buildings did during days past. “The building was hit approximately six times before collapsing in plumes of black smoke, which engulfed the entire neighborhood,” international press reports noted.
? LIVE footage of the moment an Israeli air raid bombed the offices of Al Jazeera and The Associated Press in Gaza City ??
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) May 15, 2021
The moment Israel bombed Al-Jalaa tower in Gaza housing international media outlets including Al Jazeera and AP. Reports and media personnel were not even allowed time to grab their equipment before evacuating the building #GazaUnderAttack #Palestine pic.twitter.com/jR2oMDyr68
— Marwa Fatafta #SaveSheikhJarrah (@marwasf) May 15, 2021
“The strike on the high-rise came nearly an hour after the military ordered people to evacuate the 12-story building, which also housed Al-Jazeera, other offices and residential apartments. The strike brought down the entire structure, which collapsed in a gigantic cloud of dust,” AP writes.
“There was no immediate explanation for why it was attacked,” AP adds.
The IDF in a later follow-up statement alleged the media offices contained Hamas military intelligence units…
After providing advance warning to civilians & time to evacuate, IDF fighter jets struck a multi-story building containing Hamas military intelligence assets.
The building contained civilian media offices, which Hamas hides behind and deliberately uses as human shields. pic.twitter.com/zeDjEquePD
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 15, 2021
The devastating attack brought swift condemnation by various international media organizations and advocates, with a number of prominent journalists expressing their shock, saying they “can’t believe” the media building was so blatantly targeted by Israel’s military.
AP president Gary Pruitt issued a statement saying “we are shocked and horrified” at the “incredibly disturbing” attack wherein “we narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life.”
WATCH: The owner of al-Jalaa tower pleads with an Israeli officer on live TV to let journalists collect their gear before he bombs it.
— Middle East Eye (@MiddleEastEye) May 15, 2021
“Journalists who worked there had been reporting on the Israeli attacks on Gaza,” Al Jazeera said in a social media statement. “Targeting journalists is a war crime.”
An Israeli airstrike destroyed the Al Jazeera office in Gaza. The Israeli military warned they would hit the building that houses media organizations including the AP.
Journalists who worked there had been reporting on the Israeli attacks on Gaza. pic.twitter.com/fZVo3TFEoO
— AJ+ (@ajplus) May 15, 2021
Republished from ZeroHedge.com with permission