New York, January
9, 2009--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the Israeli
military's bombing today of a Gaza
City building that houses
the offices of a number of international news organizations.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) attacked the rooftop of Al-Johara
Tower, an eight-story building located in Al-Rimal neighborhood in Gaza City,
which houses more than 20 international news organizations, according to
multiple news outlets.
Al-Jazeera reported that at least one journalist was injured
while filing a report from the roof of the building. The journalist was not
immediately identified. Staff at Al-Shifa
Hospital, where the
journalist was taken, said the injuries were minor, according to a statement on
Web site of the Iranian Arabic-language Al-Alam TV. Satellite transmission
equipment on the roof of the building was also damaged in the attack, the
Iranian English-language Press TV said on its Web site.
Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert,
defended the strike in an interview with Al-Jazeera, saying that communications
equipment in the building could have been used by Hamas.
least one journalist has been killed in Gaza
in direct relation to his work since the Israeli offensive began on December 27,
CPJ research shows. Basil Ibrahim Faraj, an assistant
cameraman for the Palestinian Media and Communications Company, died on Tuesday
at a hospital in Egypt
after suffering head injuries when his crew came under fire on the first day of
the military campaign, according to multiple news reports. Atif Issa, director
general of Palestinian Media and Communication Company, told CPJ that Faraj and
three other three crew members were on assignment for Algerian TV when their
car was hit during an airstrike near Al-Wa'd Association for Prisoners in Gaza.
The other crew members were injured.
Turkish, French, and Iranian news organizations are among
those located in the Al- Johara Tower,
which is meters away from the Shawa and Hosari Tower,
which houses a number of major media outlets. Coordinates for both buildings
were provided to the Israeli military, and floodlights were kept on both roofs
to identify the buildings, according to print and television accounts.
"The Israeli military knows the location of TV facilities houses and news bureaus in Gaza. It is simply unacceptable that working
journalists and their offices should come under fire in this way," said CPJ
Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. "Journalists enjoy protections under
international law in military campaigns such as the one in Gaza. Israel must cease its attacks on
the media immediately."
have come under Israeli fire in two other instances since the military campaign
started. On January 5, the IDF bombed
the offices of the Hamas-affiliated Al-Risala newsweekly, according to
multiple regional news agencies. On December 29, the IDF shelled the headquarters of Al-Aqsa TV,
destroying the facilities. The station continues to broadcast from a remote
The IDF has sporadically taken over the frequencies of Al-Aqsa
and the Gaza-based Sawt al-Sha'b radio to call on Palestinians to abandon
Hamas, according to Agence France-Presse and local news reports.
two letters sent to Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak since the beginning
of the offensive, CPJ demanded an explanation for the targeting of Palestinian media and
called on Israel to lift the
restrictions it has placed on the entry and movement of journalists in Gaza and southern Israel. CPJ has not received a