update(12:49pm): 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.
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.
update(12:30pm): 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.
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.
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 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…
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.”
“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.”
Harrison and Robert talk about brewing Middle East war: Israel, Palestine, Gaza, Hezbollah and Hamas.