An Israeli airstrike on Saturday targeted and destroyed Jala Tower a highrise building that housed offices of the Associated Press (AP) and Al Jazeera among other media outlets in Gaza City. The Israelis said that it also housed “an important base of operations for Hamas’s military intelligence.”

“The base gathered intel for attacks against Israel, manufactured weapons & positioned equipment to hamper IDF operations,” the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said in a statement on Twitter.

The airstrikes are now on their seventh day.

International Condemnation

There was universal outrage against the IDF for destroying the media tower. “The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today,” AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said in a released 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.”

“This is an incredibly disturbing development. We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life,” Pruitt said, adding that the AP was urging the U.S. State Department to answer questions about the targeting of the building and was still seeking information from the Israeli government.

The Jala Tower building was a 12-story highrise that housed several media outlets and apartments. It was hit by three missiles before toppling over.

For more than a decade, Jala Tower was the site from where Al Jazeera and the AP reported in Gaza and frequently showed Hamas rockets launching toward Israel and IDF airstrikes reigning down in the city. 

The Jala Tower is rocked by a missile attack by the Israeli Air Force. The highrise building housed the AP, Al Jazeera as well as Hamas. (Associated Press)

Jawad Mehdi, the owner of the Jala Tower, denied that Hamas was using the highrise. “Apart from the tenants, there are some offices of lawyers, engineers and some media agencies including Al Jazeera and AP. Nothing else,” said Mehdi to Al Jazeera.