Press association slams Israel for "war crime" after bombing of Gaza media building

Jerusalem, Israel - The Foreign Press Association (FPA) in Israel and the Palestinian Territories has questioned Israel's commitment to a free press after the destruction of a high-rise building housing media offices in the Gaza Strip.

The moment the Al-Jalaa Tower, which housed several international media organizations, collapsed after being hit by Israeli air strikes.
The moment the Al-Jalaa Tower, which housed several international media organizations, collapsed after being hit by Israeli air strikes.  © IMAGO / NurPhoto

It said in a statement on Sunday that the decision to destroy the building during the fighting between Israel and Hamas "raises deeply worrying questions about Israel's willingness to interfere with the freedom of the press to operate."

"We note that Israel has not presented any evidence to support its claim the building was used by Hamas," a letter from the association said.

The association said it had asked for a meeting with Israeli officials over the incident. The FPA says it has 480 members who work for international media.

The Israeli air force attack on the building on Saturday destroyed offices of the US news agency Associated Press (AP) and the Qatari television station Al Jazeera, among others.

According to reports, residents had been warned beforehand.

The Israeli army justified the attack on the al-Jala tower on Twitter by saying it was "an important base of operations for Hamas' military intel."

The international non-governmental organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) also condemned the attack on the building, with executive director Christian Mihr saying that it hadn't been justified no matter if Hamas was using it or not.

"Declaring media offices as war targets is a war crime," Mihr wrote on Twitter.

Cover photo: IMAGO / NurPhoto

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