The explosion from an Israeli airstrike is seen in Gaza City on May 4, 2019. A building housing the Turkish Anadolu news agency's Gaza office was destroyed by Israeli forces that evening. (AFP/Mahmud Hams)

Israeli forces destroy Gaza office of Turkish Anadolu news agency

May 9, 2019 11:35 AM ET

Beirut, May 9, 2019 -- The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned the Israeli bombing of Turkish-stated owned news outlet Anadolu Agency's Gaza office on May 4.

Israeli warplanes fired five missiles into the building housing the Anadolu Agency office, destroying the building but causing no casualties, according to a report by Anadolu Agency, other news reports, and the regional press freedom group Skeyes.

"It is completely unacceptable for Israel to bomb and destroy the Gaza office of Turkey's Anadolu Agency and endanger the lives of journalists, who are civilians and guaranteed protection under international law," said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Representative Ignacio Miguel Delgado. "Israeli authorities know where media outlets are housed in Gaza, and must ensure that journalists can do their jobs safely, without fear of being injured or killed."

The planes first fired warning shots at the building at about 7 p.m., according to the Anadolu statement and the Skeyes report.

"The employees working the evening shift told me that the building was being shelled, so I told them to leave the building immediately without trying to save any equipment," Anadolu Agency's Gaza director, Yasser al-Bana, told Skeyes.

The office building housing Anadolu Agency, known as the Iktifan Building, was also home to the Asra Media Office, a Palestinian human rights organization that advocates for prisoners, according to news reports.

The Israeli Defense Forces allege that the Iktifan Building housed Hamas' military intelligence and general security offices, according to news reports.

The Hamas media office and the Israeli Defense Forces did not reply to CPJ's emailed requests for comment.

In an interview with the news agency, Anadolu Agency Deputy Director Mustafa Ozkaya said that Israeli forces "targeted us deliberately, not by mistake."

At least 22 Palestinians and four Israelis have been killed in the recent flare-up of hostilities between Israel and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, according to news reports.

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