AP ‘shocked and horrified’ by Israeli attack on media building in
WASHINGTON, May 15, 2021 (BSS/AFP) – The Associated Press said
Saturday it was “shocked and horrified” by an Israeli airstrike that
destroyed a building housing the US news agency’s Gaza bureau and
those of other international news media.
“This is an incredibly disturbing development. We narrowly avoided a
terrible loss of life,” AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said in a
statement about the attack on the building, which also housed
Qatar-based Al Jazeera.
A dozen AP journalists and freelancers had been in the building but
were able to evacuate, Pruitt said.
The White House, which has kept a relatively low profile on the
Israeli-Palestinian flareup, said Saturday it has cautioned Israel
about the importance of protecting independent media.
“We have communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the
safety and security of journalists and independent media is a
paramount responsibility,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki
Israeli defense officials said the building housed not only news
bureaus but offices of Hamas militants.
AFP journalists watched the building collapse after the air strike,
sending up a huge cloud of dust and debris.
Al Jazeera television was among the tenants of the building.
Walid al-Omari, that news agency’s Jerusalem bureau chief, vowed the
network will not be silenced.
“Clearly there is a decision not only to sow destruction and
killing, but also to silence those who broadcast it,” he told AFP,
adding in an on-air interview shortly afterward that “this is
Pruitt, in his statement, said, “The world will know less about what
is happening in Gaza because of what happened today.”