Associated Press Blasts Israel After Bombing of Gaza Headquarters
The Associated Press is demanding that the Israeli government provide evidence that Hamas fighters were hiding out in the organization’s headquarters in Gaza City, which the Israeli Defense Force ordered evacuated before bombing it to the ground on Saturday.
Associated Press President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt said in a statement that Israel’s actions were “disturbing” and stressed that AP staff and their colleagues “had no indication” that Hamas was using their building to launch attacks against Israel.
Numerous other media outlets, including Al-Jazeera, were also tenants in the now-obliterated structure.
“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,” Pruitt said.
“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,” said Pruitt.
“We are seeking information from the Israeli government and are engaged with the U.S. State Department to try to learn more,” Pruitt added. “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.”