On Saturday, a high-rise building was flattened by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza that housed AP News, prompting numerous pleas by the agency to the army to stop the imminent assault. The Associated Press described Israel’s attack on the Associated Press office as shocking and terrifying.
12 freelancers and AP staffers were sleeping in the office on Saturday afternoon as they were communicated with an alert by the Israeli Military that gave one hour for building residents to leave. All were forced to flee the house, gathering a few possessions until three powerful rockets exploded the building into debris.
No one, however, was injured but the deadly airstrike destroyed an office that served as AP Journalists’ second home, ushering in a new phase in the often tumultuous partnership between international press groups and the Israeli Military. The attack was condemned by groups that advocate press freedom. They suspected the military of attempting to suppress news of Israel’s offense against militants of Hamas by claiming the building contained Hamas military intelligence.
Prior to Israel’s attack on the Associated Press office, AP made urgent calls to Israel’s prime minister and foreign minister’s office but was either overlooked or told that nothing could be accomplished.
For 15 years, the AP’s office on the top floor and its roof terrace served as a prime venue for reporting on Israel’s disputes with Gaza’s Hamas rulers, including the wars of 2009, 2012, and 2014. The news agency’s camera provided live coverage 24 hours a day as jihadist missiles arced targeting Israel and airstrikes from Israel pounded the city along its environs this week.
The CEO of AP News, Gary Pruitt, has said in a release that they did not have any sort of indication about the presence of Hamas in that building. He stated that they constantly monitor the safety of their employees and will never intentionally endanger their journalists.
Pruitt said that the news media was shocked and appalled that the military of Israel would attack and destroy the building that houses the Associated Press’s bureau in Gaza and various other agencies. He cautioned that the world will learn less about what is actually happening in Gaza as a result of today’s events.
Gary further stated that it is a deeply troubling trend and they have barely averted a horrific loss of life. He added that AP had been requesting the details from the government of Israel and they are also in contact with the US State Department.
Numerous offices were located in the complex, including Al Jazeera. The Arab satellite channel and a large number of people who lived in the building were evacuated.
Al Jazeera broadcasted a video of the building’s owner pleading on call with an intelligence officer from Israel to enable journalists to enter the building for 10 minutes to collect vital equipment until it was bombed.
Israel often uses the involvement of Hamas as justification for attacking houses. Additionally, Israel also accused Hamas of utilizing journalists as their human shields.