Israeli Officer Says Toppling AP High-rise in Gaza Was 'A Mistake'

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The airstrike on the building housing various international media, including The Associated Press in Gaza City in May.
The airstrike on the building housing various international media, including The Associated Press in Gaza City in May.Credit: Mahmud Hams / AP

The Israeli army's decision to attack a high-rise that housed the Associated Press news agency in Gaza was a 'mistake,' an Israeli general leading the investigation into May's hostilities said.  

Maj. Gen. (ret.) Nitzan Alon, who conducted the investigation into Operation Guardian of the Walls and how it influenced public opinion, said that destroying the AP tower created severe PR damage for Israel.   

"Not everyone in the military agrees, but I’m convinced it was a mistake. The operational achievement was totally disproportionate to the diplomatic damage and the harm to public relations it created, and we should learn from this,” Alon said at a conference held by the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.

He also referred to the impact on Gaza residents, saying that he believes “we are still very limited in our ability to influence broad public opinion in Gaza during combat, and pressure decision makers in Hamas.”

On May 15, the IDF bombed and toppled a tower in Gaza in which many foreign media outlets were located, including AP and Al-Jazeera. According to the IDF, the building contained “military assets belonging to the military intelligence of the Hamas terror organization.”

The IDF's Spokesperson's Unit said that the building contained the offices of civilian media outlets, behind which Hamas was hiding, using them as human shields. “A terror organization is deliberately placing its military assets in the heart of a civilian population in the Gaza Strip.”

The president and CEO of the Associated Press news agency, Gary Pruitt, condemned the attack and said that he was shocked and horrified by it. Pruitt added that the agency would ask for clarifications from Israel’s government.

The al-Jazeera network called the act a "barbaric attack" which contravenes international law, adding that it would sue Israel’s government.

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