Blinken speaks with Associated Press CEO after Israeli airstrike destroys Gaza office

Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Associated Press CEO Gary Pruitt on Saturday after an Israeli airstrike destroyed the outlet's local media office in the Gaza Strip, which also housed the Al Jazeera office.Why it matters: "The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what transpired today" Pruitt said in a statement — as fighting between Israel and Hamas continues to bring more casualties. Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.Driving the news: Blinken "offered his unwavering support for independent journalists and media organizations around the world and noted the indispensability of their reporting in conflict zones," according to State Department spokesperson Ned Price."He expressed relief that the Associated Press team on the ground in Gaza remains safe."What they're saying: "We are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP’s bureau and other news organizations in Gaza," Pruitt said in a statement. "They have long known the location of our bureau and knew journalists were there. We received a warning that the building would be hit." Go deeper: "Horrified": AP, Al Jazeera condemn Israel's bombing of their offices in GazaUN: 10,000 Palestinians displaced in Gaza as Israel-Hamas fighting escalatesMore from Axios: Sign up to get the latest market trends with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free

Al Jazeera accuses Israel of war crime after tower housing its Gaza offices destroyed

An Israeli airstrike destroyed the Al Jalaa Tower, a high-rise in Gaza that housed the offices of multiple media outlets in the region, including Al Jazeera and The Associated Press, as the conflict between Israel and Hamas continued Saturday. The Israeli military warned people to evacuate the building, and there do not appear to be any reports of casualties; AP has said its staffers are safe. BREAKING: An Israeli airstrike levelled the Jala Tower in the Gaza Strip, a 13-floor building housing Qatari television station Al-Jazeera and the American news agency Associated Press. — euronews (@euronews) May 15, 2021 AP reported that there was no immediate explanation for why the building was targeted, but Israel has since said it contained "military assets belonging to the intelligence offices of the Hamas terror organization." Gary Pruitt, AP's president and CEO, said the organization is "shocked and horrified" by the strike. "We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life," he said, adding that "the world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today." Al Jazeera responded to the incident, as well, calling for international condemnation of Israel's actions, which the publication called a "blatant violation of human rights" and a "war crime," although American attorney Mark Zaid said that accusation could be complicated if it turns out Hamas was using the media as a "shield" for what would otherwise be a "legitimate target." "The destruction of Al Jazeera offices and that of other media organizations in Al Jalaa tower in Gaza is a blatant violation of human rights and is internationally considered a war crime." — Kamahl Santamaria (@KamahlAJE) May 15, 2021 More stories from theweek.com7 scathingly funny cartoons about Liz Cheney's ousterThere's growing speculation that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will name their daughter 'Philippa'The Wuhan lab-leak hypothesis deserves relentless investigating

Israeli Airstrike Destroys AP, Al Jazeera Offices on Live TV

Twitter/Al JazeeraAn Israeli airstrike on Saturday demolished a Gaza City high-rise building that housed journalists from the Associated Press, Al Jazeera and other news outlets.About an hour before, a resident of the 12-story building received a call, purportedly from the Israeli military, warning of an impending attack but giving no explanation for why the building was being targeted. Journalists described a mad scramble to collect equipment and evacuate the building. Several networks, including Al Jazeera, then showed the building collapsing on live TV.“I have been working here for 11 years. I have been covering many events from this building,” Al Jazeera reporter Safwat al-Kahlout said in an interview with his own outlet. “Now everything, in two seconds, just vanished.”⭕ LIVE footage of the moment an Israeli air raid bombed the offices of Al Jazeera and The Associated Press in Gaza City ⬇️🔴 LIVE updates:— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) May 15, 2021 It’s not clear if anyone was still in the building when it was razed. AP said a dozen journalists and freelancers were inside but all managed to escape.After receiving the warning, Al-Kahlout said he and his colleagues “started to collect as much as they could, from the personal and equipment of the office, especially the cameras.”One of Associated Press’ Gaza correspondents, Fares Akram, tweeted that he had been watching from afar and hoping the army would not go through with its threat.“And now bombs could fall on our office,” he wrote. “We ran down the stairs from the 11th floor and now looking at the building from afar, praying Israeli army would eventually retract.”The Israeli Air Force later claimed, without evidence, that the building “contained military assets belonging to the intelligence offices of the Hamas terror organization.” But Al Jazeera bluntly tweeted: “Targeting journalists is a war crime.”“The building contained civilian media offices, which the Hamas terror organization hides behind and uses as human shields,” the Israeli Air Force said. “The Hamas terror organization deliberately places military targets at the heart of densely populated civilian areas in the Gaza Strip.”Endless Airstrikes Push Gaza Hospitals Hammered by COVID to the BrinkGary Pruitt, AP’s president and CEO, said the company was “shocked and horrified” by the attack. “The Israeli military... have long known the location of our bureau and knew journalists were there,” he said in a statement.“We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life,” his statement said. “The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today.”Earlier on Saturday, another Israeli airstrike flattened a three-story home in a Gaza City refugee camp, killing eight children and two mothers, and leaving a 5-month-old baby as the family’s sole survivor.In response, Hamas fired rockets into Israel to avenge what it called a “massacre”—the deadliest of Israel’s attacks since the conflict erupted six days ago at a Jerusalem holy site revered by both Palestinians and Jews.The attack came as victims gathered to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, witnesses told reporters.“There was no warning,” Jamal Al-Naji, who lived in the destroyed building, told the Associated Press.Directing his comments toward Israel, he added: “You filmed people eating and then you bombed them? Why are you confronting us? Go and confront the strong people!”How Bibi Empowered the Supremacist Movement Fueling This ConflictThe dead were identified by Haaretz as Maha al-Hadidi, 36, and four of her children: Suhaib, 14; 'Abd a-Rahman, 8; Osama, 6, and Yahya, 11. Her infant, Omar, was reportedly found alive in the rubble, shielded by his mother’s body. Also killed were Jasmine Hassan, 31, and her three children: Yosef, 11; Bilal, 10, and Ala, 5. On Saturday, the Palestinian health ministry, which is run by Hamas, said 139 Palestinians—including 39 children and 22 women—have been killed since Monday. Israel has reported eight deaths.The stage was set for even more violence on Saturday, which is known as Nakba Day, when Palestinians remember the expulsion of 700,000 during the 1948 war.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.