Netanyahu Says Attack on Gaza Media Tower Was 'Perfectly Legitimate'

'The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today,' AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said

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The al-Jalaa building housing Associated Press (AP) and Al Jazeera media offices is hit by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, yesterday.
The al-Jalaa building housing Associated Press (AP) and Al Jazeera media offices is hit by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, yesterday.Credit: STRINGER/ REUTERS

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that the attack on the high-rise building in Gaza, which hosted several news organizations, was "perfectly legitimate," as news agencies demand explanations for the attack.

The high-rise building in Gaza hit by an Israeli airstrike this weekend housed a Palestinian militant group's intelligence office as well as offices for the Associated Press and Al Jazeera, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.

There was "an intelligence office for the Palestinian terrorist organization housed in that building that plots and organizes terror attacks against Israeli civilians so it's a perfectly legitimate target," Netanyahu told CBS' "Face the Nation" program.

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He said the information regarding Saturday's attack had been shared with U.S. authorities.

While Prime Minister Netanyahu called the high-rise a "legitimate" target, news organizations demanded an explanation Saturday for the airstrike.

AP journalists and other tenants were safely evacuated from the 12-story al-Jalaa tower after the Israeli military warned of an imminent strike. Three heavy missiles hit the building within the hour, disrupting coverage of the ongoing conflict between’ Gaza’s Hamas rulers and Israel. At least 188 people in Gaza and ten in Israel have been killed since the fighting erupted on Monday night.

“The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today,” AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said. He said the American news agency was seeking information from the Israeli government and engaging with the U.S. State Department to learn more.

Mostefa Souag, acting director-general of Al-Jazeera Media Network, called the strike a “war crime” and a “clear act” to stop journalists from reporting on the conflict. Kuwait state television also had office space in the now-collapsed Gaza City building.

“The targeting of news organizations is completely unacceptable, even during an armed conflict. It represents a gross violation of human rights and internationally agreed norms,” Barbara Trionfi, the executive director of the International Press Institute, said.

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