Palestinian media buildings have been hit by Israeli air strikes, wounding six journalists and damaging facilities belonging to Gaza’s television station and Sky News. Among other outlets damaged are local, Italian, German, Lebanese and Kuwaiti channels. RT’s office in Gaza was affected too.
The journalists received minor to moderate injuries, Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said. One journalist had his leg amputated following the attack, he added.
Two buildings of a media center in Gaza City were targeted by Israeli warplanes early on Sunday in a series of strikes. Witnesses reported that the journalists had evacuated after an initial attack, which was followed by at least two more hits. The buildings were heavily damaged.
Israel has denied targeting foreign media in airstrikes in Gaza, saying it was aiming for Hamas communication sites.
The Israel Defence force said the sites that were targeted overnight ‘were all positively identified by precise intelligence over the course of months’.
But the Foreign Press Association has dismissed these claims and expressed its concern about the attack on buildings housing news organisations, including Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV.
The FPA said: ‘One building [that was attacked] houses or has been used by the following FPA members: British news organisations Sky News, and Sky News Arabia, MBC TV, Al Arabiya, ORF and other European broadcasters’.
The other building hit houses ARD TV, it added.
The statement pointed to a 2006 UN Security Council resolution condemning attacks on journalists in conflict zones.
The Israeli Defence Forces have released video footage of one of the media buildings, occupied by a team from Sky News and other international broadcasters, being hit.
The attack happened at about 7.15am local time and no one was injured.
About five hours earlier, another media building in Gaza, housing Hamas’ al Aqsa television among others, was also hit in an Israeli airstrike on Sunday.
In total six journalists were injured, including an employee of al Quds television station who lost his leg, reported Sky News.
Israeli military spokeswoman Avital Leibovich told Sky News a Hamas antenna was the target of the strike.
She said: ‘The media building was taken by Hamas to be used as human shields – we see this time after time, year after year.
‘Hamas chose, out of all the buildings in the Gaza Strip, to choose this building – the media, civilian building – to place its electronic infrastructure and communications on the rooftop.
‘The target was on the roof and only that target was hit.’
She warned Palestinians to stay away from sites being used by Hamas.
Sky’s Middle East Correspondent Sam Kiley, who was in the building when it was hit, said there was reason to disbelieve Israel’s excuses for the attack.
He said: ‘I think what happened to us just illustrates in a general sense that no one in Gaza can feel safe.’
Kiley said it is very hard for civilians to know what locations are being used by Hamas as ‘they are extremely well camouflaged’.
As Israeli continuesher military blitz, casualities continue to rise as a home in Gaza targeted on Monday morning saw at least 10 people killed.
Officials confirmed that Sunday November 18 became the deadliest day since Israel launched an operation against alleged Hamas militants locations in Gaza last week.
Israel said it had targeted a Hamas man but at least nine members of one family died, including several children.
Heavy bombardment of the strip was continuing early on Monday morning.
Gaza militants continue to fire rockets at Israel, with injuries reported in towns including Ashkelon and Ofakim.
Sources on both sides say attempts to reach a ceasefire are continuing, but PM Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel is ready to expand its operation.
At least 26 people were reported to have been killed in Gaza by Israeli bombardments on Sunday. Of those, at least 14 were women and children, Gaza health officials said.
This brought the death toll in Gaza since Israel launched its Operation Pillar of Defence on Wednesday to 72, the officials said.
Air strikes continued late into the evening, with BBC correspondents also reporting renewed shelling from Israeli warships.
Three Israelis were killed on Thursday.
Sources: Daily Mail and BBC