Israeli air strike at Gaza tower: AP, Al Jazeera offices destroyed

Israeli air strikes continued on continuous sixth day, in Saturday’s strike destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza City that housed offices of The Associated Press, Al Jazeera and other media outlets.

Jawad Mehdi, the owner of the Jala Tower, told media an Israeli intelligence officer warned him he had just one hour to ensure the evacuation of the building.

In a phone call with the officer, a foreign news agency heard him beg for an extra 10 minutes to allow journalists to retrieve their equipment before leaving. but the officer on the other end of the line refused.

Wael al-Dahdouh, Al Jazeera’s bureau chief in Gaza termed it terrible, very sad, to target the Al Jazeera and other press bureaus.”

Video footage broadcast by Al Jazeera showed the moment the 13-storey building collapsed after the strike as plumes of dark smoke rose in the sky.

“The tower has come down,” the anchorwoman said in the video. “Whenever you see journalists doing live updates from Gaza, they’re usually standing on the roof of that building which has now been flattened by an air strike by the Israeli military,” she added.

“This channel will not be silenced. Al Jazeera will not be silenced,” the on-air anchorwoman said, her voice thick with emotion. “We can guarantee you that right now.”

Israeli planes renewed air strikes in Gaza early on Saturday and Hamas fighters responded by firing rockets into Israel as the fighting entered a fifth night and US and Arab diplomats sought an end to the violence.

Palestinian medics said at least 12 people were killed overnight in air strikes throughout Gaza. Health officials said a woman and her three children were among the dead after their house was hit in a refugee camp.