NEW YORK — An Israeli airstrike destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza City that housed offices of The Associated Press and other media outlets on Saturday. All AP employees and freelancers evacuated the building safely.
Saturday in the Mideast: Israeli airstrikes in Gaza kill 10, destroy media offices for AP, Al Jazeera
AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt has released the following statement:
“We are 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.
The Israeli government says the building contained Hamas military intelligence assets. We have called on the Israeli government to put forward the evidence. AP’s bureau has been in this building for 15 years. We have had no indication Hamas was in the building or active in the building. This is something we actively check to the best of our ability. We would never knowingly put our journalists at risk.
“We are seeking information from the Israeli government and are engaged with the U.S. State Department to try to learn more.
“This is an incredibly disturbing development. We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life. A dozen AP journalists and freelancers were inside the building and thankfully we were able to evacuate them in time.
“The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted Saturday that the U.S. had “communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility.”