DCMF's media office in Gaza hit by Israeli airstrike

DCMF's media office in Gaza hit by Israeli airstrike

DCMF's Gaza office and other media centres were hit by Israeli airstrikes overnight, but no one was harmed.
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Smoke billows after Israeli air strikes near smuggling tunnels between the southern Gaza Strip and Egypt, on November 21, 2012 in Rafah. AFP image

The building housing Doha Centre for Media Freedom’s Gaza office was hit in an Israeli airstrike on Tuesday night. Offices of Al Jazeera, AP and AFP were also damaged in aerial attacks.

“The strike happened around 1.30 am and luckily no was in the office as the last person left around 11.30pm,” said Adel Zaanoun, Director of DCMF’s Gaza office. “When we came in the morning, we found some minor damages in the office. Thankfully we weren’t badly hit.”

“We came in and saw that our radio studio which was used by local and foreign journalists has been damaged and it will take some time to repair it,” he said. “Apart from that, it’s just broken windows and furniture.”

“It is very difficult for journalists to continue working because there are airstrikes everywhere,” Zaanoun said. “Even though the Israelis want to shut the media down, we will continue reporting the violence.”

Zaanoun said that Al Jazeera’s office was badly hit compared to theirs with computers and live studios being badly damaged.

Attack on AFP office

At least three rockets appeared to have hit the building of AFP, which is 900 meters away from the DCMF Gaza office.

AFP photographer Mahmud Hams, who was in the fourth-floor office at the time and was unharmed, said no AFP staff were hurt in the attack.

"I was in the office with a fixer and suddenly we heard an explosion," Hams said, adding that it shook the building but he didn't initially realise it had been struck.

"About five minutes passed and then we heard two more loud explosions that also shook the building," he said.

"I grabbed my cameras and left the office with the fixer and there was smoke in the hallways. We ran out of the building," he said, indicating that smoke and a fire appeared to be coming from an office on one of the upper floors.

The Israeli military confirmed targeting the eight-storey building in Gaza City's Rimal neighbourhood.

"We attacked the seventh storey of the building. From what we understand, Hamas had a military intelligence operations room there," an army spokesman said.

He described the strike as "surgical" and declined to give further details.

Later, the Israeli army spokesperson's official Twitter account also confirmed the incident.

"Minutes ago, we surgically targeted a Hamas intelligence operations center on 7th floor of a media building in Gaza. Direct hit confirmed," the account said.

"The Hamas terrorists weren't in the media building to be interviewed. They were there to communicate with field operatives and plan attacks," it added.

"Warning to reporters in Gaza: Stay away from Hamas operatives and facilities. Hamas, a terrorist group, will use you as human shields."

More violence in Gaza

In a separate incident, Israeli airstrikes killed three journalists from Al Aqsa TV and Al Quds Educational Radio on Tuesday.

The attacks came a matter of days after the bombardment of the Al Aqsa and Al Quds TV  media centres, which left eight journalists injured, including one who lost his leg in the air strike.

Both TV stations are affiliated to Hamas, and have been accused of being involved in military operations with the group.


Source: DCMF, AFP

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