A strike on November 2 creates a gaping hole in the Hajji building, which houses several media offices including those of Agence France Presse in Gaza City. (Photo: AFP/Bashar Taleb)

CPJ condemns strike on AFP bureau in Gaza

New York, November 3, 2023— The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the November 2 strike on a building housing the Gaza City bureau of international news agency Agence France-Presse and calls on authorities to release any available information about the attack.

“Journalists and media offices must be respected and protected,” said CPJ President Jodie Ginsberg. “Journalists are civilians who play an essential role corroborating information and keeping the public informed.”

An Israeli military spokesman initially told AFP that “there was no IDF (Israeli military) strike on the building” in Gaza. Later, the army released a statement that said there was an IDF strike nearby the AFP building that “might have caused debris” but denied that the building was targeted. 

The IDF has a history of attacks on media facilities. In 2009, CPJ documented the IDF’s attack of the Al-Johara Tower in Gaza City, which housed more than 20 international news organizations. There were at least two other such incidents the same year. In May 2021, CPJ documented the bombing of at least 18 media outlets.

AFP strongly condemned the shelling, saying that the office’s location is well known “and has been reiterated several times in recent days, precisely to prevent such an attack and enable us to continue documenting events on the ground.”

None of the eight AFP staff members based in Gaza were on site at the time of the strike as all were evacuated to the south of the Gaza Strip on October 13. AFP’s unmanned video camera has continued to broadcast live feeds from Gaza in spite of the damage by the strike.

The Israel-Gaza war has become the deadliest four-week period for journalists covering conflict since CPJ began documenting journalist fatalities in 1992. As of November 3, CPJ’s investigations showed at least 36 journalists and media workers were among an estimated 10,000 killed since the war began on October 7—with more than 9,000 deaths in Gaza and the West Bank, and 1,400 in Israel. 

Editor’s note: The caption was updated to correct the date of the strike. The third paragraph was updated with additional information about the strike.