'The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today'


Amid the escalation in Israel-Palestine conflict, Israeli forces took down the Al-Jalaa building, housing the Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera and the US-based Associated Press, in Gaza City on Saturday.

The 12-storey tower block also housed other news outlets' offices and residential apartments. Israeli forces asked occupants of the building to evacuate in an hour, the Associated Press reported.

The owner of Al-Jalaa tower​​​​​, in a franctic call, spoke with an Israeli officer to buy some more time before they bombed the building. British media company Middle East Eye, who also had an office inside the building, captured the reactions.

AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt, in a statement, said that the agency was "shocked and horrified" at the strike. " "The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today" he added.

"We have had no indication Hamas was in the building or active in the building," AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said in a statement. "This is something we actively check to the best of our ability. We would never knowingly put our journalists at risk."

Similary, Al Jazeera quoted its Acting Director-General Dr Mostefa Souag, as saying that the attack was "a clear act to stop journalists from conducting their sacred duty to inform the world and report events on the ground."

Following the attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shared a live video to give his statement on Twitter. The Israel Defense Forces released a statement saying the building was attacked because Hamas intelligence used Al-Jalaa building for its various operations and civilians as human-shields.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden spoke with Israeli PM Netanyahu to reaffirm his strong support for Israel's right to 'defend itself' against rocket attacks from Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza and condemned indiscriminate attacks against towns and cities across Israel, the White House statement said.

Similarly, Biden spoke with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to strengthen the US-Palestinian partnership and their 'shared desire' for Jerusalem to be a place of peaceful coexistence for all.

In another statement released by US Department of State, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken "offered his unwavering support for independent journalists and media organizations around the world and noted the indispensability of their reporting in conflict zones."

On-going tensions between Israel and the Palestinians escalated even more on May 10 when Hamas launched rockets into Jerusalem and Israel responded with air strikes which has now drawn a serious international concern all over the world.

As many as139 people, mostly children, have been killed in Gaza since Israeli attacks began earlier this week, the AP reported.

(Text Compilation: Madhavi Marasini)