One day after the destruction of an apartment building in Gaza where, according to Israel, Hamas held office, there are still many questions. The flat included editors of press agency AP and news channel Al Jazeera. They want more information from Israel.
The owner of the Jala Tower denies that Hamas was in the building opposite Al Jazeera. “In addition to the tenants, there were several lawyers, engineers and a few media companies. Nothing else,” says Jawad Mehdi. According to him, Israel has not yet provided evidence of the claim that Hamas was present in the building.
Israel mentions the presence of Hamas, the organisation that has been in power in Gaza since 2007, as a reason to bomb the building. In a series of three tweets about the attack, Twitter reported this morning that Hamas is hiding more often in civilian buildings, but militants are not “immune” to air strikes.
Journalists saw how their workplace was destroyed:
The Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post writes that yesterday Israel presented information to the US government that would undeniably demonstrate that Hamas was operating from the building. The White House would have been satisfied with the explanation. Correspondent Ankie Rechess says on NPO Radio 1 that the information had to be “very correct”. “Otherwise, Israel would not burn itself to something not done, because journalists should always be able to do their work.”
The journalists from AP and Al Jazeera were able to flee the premises in time. Shortly before the bombing, Israel warned against the air strike. According to Israel, Hamas was able to secure things, “but we were willing to pay that price,” said the army on Twitter. The French press agency AFP has now offered shelter to the editors of AP and Al Jazeera.
AP said in a response after the attack that his journalists would not sit in a building where Hamas holds office, adding that it was not able to establish with one hundred percent certainty that Hamas did not operate from the building. The news agency says that it has reported from the building for 15 years.
AP, other media organisations and also the international journalist organisation CPJ have asked Israel for clarification. The latter questions whether the Israeli army deliberately attacks the media in order to “thwart the reporting of human suffering in the Gaza Strip”.
Secretary-General of the United Nations Guterres underlined yesterday that arbitrary attacks on civil and media buildings are not in line with international law and must be prevented at all costs.
As yet, there is no prospect of the escalation of violence between Israel and militant Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Last night, Palestinian health authorities had at least 42 deaths the most victims of Israeli air strikes since the attacks started over and over almost a week ago.
In total, at least 192 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip, reports the Palestinian Ministry of Health. On the Israeli side, Hamas have killed ten deaths so far.
According to the Israeli army, about 3000 missiles have been fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip since Monday. Also today there are reports of missile impacts, mainly in the cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod.
Correspondent Ankie Rechess thinks theres a file coming up. “But now everyone is still going hard at it, because someone wants to come out with the ultimate victory.”
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz writes that behind the scenes pressure is increasing on Israel to move towards a ceasefire. On Friday, a senior American diplomat arrived in Tel Aviv with the assignment to mediate between the parties. Furthermore, the UN Security Council is meeting today for urgent consultations on the crisis, as are the 57 countries united in the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation.
EU Foreign Minister Borrell announced this morning that EU Foreign Ministers will discuss in a video conference on Tuesday how to put an end to violence. Also the Pope called today to put an end to the attacks over and over again.