Israel destroyed a 12-story building in Gaza City that housed the offices of media outlets including the Associated Press and Al Jazeera with airstrikes on Saturday May 16.
The Israel Defense Forces said its fighter jets struck the building because it was “an important base of operations” for Palestinian militant group Hamas, the New York Times reported.
The IDF said it gave civilians in the building advanced warning so they could evacuate. No casualties were reported.
The owner of the building said he was told he had one hour to evacuate everyone, AP reported.
He was then filmed pleading with the Israeli Army to wait an extra 10 minutes to allow journalists, who had been interviewing a father whose four children had been killed in an Israeli airstrike on a refugee camp, to gather their belongings, according to New York Times.
“There will be no 10 minutes,” an Israeli officer said, before the building, which also housed residences and other offices, was engulfed in smoke and collapsed within minutes.
“The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what transpired today,” AP’s president said in a statement following the attack, which has drawn widespread condemnation.
Al Jazeera condemned the bombing and said it was “a clear act to stop journalists from conducting their sacred duty to inform the world and report events on the ground.”
Palestinian authorities said at least 198 Palestinians, including 58 children, have been killed in the Gaza Strip from the Israeli airstrikes since Monday May 10, when Hamas fired its first rockets at Israel.
At least 10 people in Israel have died in rocket attacks fired from Gaza, according to the New York Times.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel will “do whatever it takes to restore order and quiet” and that “it will take some time.”