Israeli airstrike destroyed building that housed media offices (file photo) Photograph:( Reuters )
Al Jazeera's broadcast footage showed the building collapsing after the Israeli airstrike. A mushroom cloud of dust and debris was visible
An Israeli airstrike on Saturday demolished a highrise in Gaza that housed Al-Jazeera and The Associated Press media offices. Israel "destroyed Jala Tower in the Gaza Strip, which contains the Al Jazeera and other international press offices," Al Jazeera said in a tweet, with an AP journalist saying the army had warned the tower's owner ahead of the strike.
Al Jazeera's broadcast footage as well as video tweeted by The Associated Press showed the building collapsing after the Israeli airstrike. A mushroom cloud of dust and debris was visible.
Jawad Mehdi, the owner of the Jala Tower, said an Israeli intelligence officer warned him he had just one hour to ensure the evacuation of the building.
AP VIDEO: An Israeli airstrike destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza City that housed offices of The Associated Press and other media. https://t.co/P4zeHsCrAg— The Associated Press (@AP) May 15, 2021
In a phone call with the officer, AFP heard him beg for an extra 10 minutes to allow journalists to retrieve their equipment before leaving.
"Give us ten extra minutes," he urged, but the officer on the other end of the line refused.
Wael al-Dahdouh, Al Jazeera's bureau chief in Gaza told AFP: "It's terrible, very sad, to target the Al Jazeera and other press bureaux".
Israel alleged its "fighter jets attacked a high-rise building which hosted military assets belonging to the military intelligence of the Hamas terror organisation".
"The building also hosted offices of civilian media outlets, which the Hamas terror group hides behind and uses as human shields," it said.
Israeli air and artillery strikes on Gaza since Monday have killed 139 people including 39 children, and wounded 1,000 more, health officials in the coastal enclave say.
Eight children killed in Israeli airstrike
In another Israeli airstrike, eight children and two women were killed when a three-storey building in Shati refugee camp collapsed, said AFP quoting medical sources. All of the deceased belonged to a single extended family
Israeli warplanes struck multiple targets in Gaza overnight, while Palestinian militants fired some 200 rockets at southern Israel, around 30 of which fell short, hitting the ground inside Gaza, the Israeli military said.
Speaking outside Shifa hospital in Gaza City, the father of four of the children, Muhammad al-Hadidi, said he wanted "the unjust world to see these crimes".
"They were safe in their homes, they did not carry weapons, they did not fire rockets," he said of his children, who were killed "wearing their clothes for Eid al-Fitr", the holiday marking the end of Ramadan.
A Hamas spokesman called the deadly airstrike "a war crime in its own right."
(With inputs from agencies)