Gaza Tower Housing AP, Al Jazeera Collapses After Israeli Missile Strike

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Smoke billowing from the building housing international media after the Israeli airstrike in Gaza city on Saturday.
Smoke billowing from the building housing international media after the Israeli airstrike in Gaza city on Saturday.Credit: Mahmud Hams,AP

An Israeli airstrike destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza City that housed offices of The Associated Press and other media outlets on Saturday. 

The airstrike came roughly an hour after the Israeli military ordered people to evacuate the building. There was no immediate explanation for why the building was targeted.

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The building houses The Associated Press, Al-Jazeera and a number of offices and apartments. 

Al Jazeera called the IDF's bombing of its office in Gaza 'barbaric' and a violation of international law. 

"We promise our viewers that we will continue to document and cover what is happening (on the ground). We will sue the Israeli government," it said in a statement.

AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said he was "shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP's bureau and other news organizations in Gaza  They have long known the location of our bureau and knew journalists were there. We received a warning that the building would be hit. We are seeking information from the Israeli government and are engaged with the U.S. State Department to try to learn more."

Pruitt further said the agency "narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life" as there had been a dozen journalists and freelancers inside the building, who were just evacuated in time. 

An AP journalist, who asked not to be named, confirmed that the building had been destroyed and said all their staff were safe but in shock.

Hamas threatened to strike Tel Aviv in response to the bombing of the building. "The residents of Tel Aviv should be prepared for our response," a spokesperson for Hamas military wing said. 

Meanwhile, in a statement, the Israel Defense Forces said Israeli Air Force warplanes hit a tower in Gaza housing what the army said was "military assets" belonging to Hamas.

The building was host to the offices of the Associated Press, which is based in the U.S., and Al Jazeera, which is owned by Qatar.

According to the Israeli army, the tower had "offices belonging to civilian media organization that Hamas the terror organization was using as human shields." 

Reuters contributed to this report

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