According to AFP journalists, an Israeli airstrike on the Gaza Strip on Saturday demolished the 13-story building that housed Qatar’s Al Jazeera television and the Associated Press.
Al Jazeera claimed in a tweet that Israel had “destroyed Jala Tower in the Gaza Strip, which houses Al Jazeera and other international press offices,” with an Associated Press journalist claiming that the IDF had informed the tower’s owner prior to the strike.
Al Jazeera broadcast footage of the structure collapsing to the ground, sending up a large mushroom cloud of dust and debris after the Israeli air strike.
Jawad Mehdi, the owner of the Jala Tower, claimed he was given one hour to ensure the building’s evacuation by an Israeli intelligence operative.
The cops were heard appealing for an additional 10 minutes to allow journalists to gather their equipment before leaving on the phone, according to AFP.
“Give us five more minutes,” he begged, but the officer on the other end of the line refused.
“Fighter planes targeted a high-rise structure that contained military assets tied to Hamas terror organization’s military intelligence,” Israel alleged.
According to the report, the structure also housed offices of civilian media outlets, which Hamas hides behind and exploits as human shields.
According to health officials in Gaza, Israeli air and artillery assaults have killed 139 people, including 39 children, and injured 1,000 others since Monday.