Associated Press CEO on strike: ‘The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza’

NEW YORK — An Israeli airstrike destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza City that housed offices of The Associated Press and other media outlets on Saturday. All AP employees and freelancers evacuated the building safely.

Saturday in the Mideast: Israeli airstrikes in Gaza kill 10, destroy media offices for AP, Al Jazeera

AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt has released the following statement:

“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. They have long known the location of our bureau and knew journalists were there. We received a warning that the building would be hit. 

“We are seeking information from the Israeli government and are engaged with the U.S. State Department to try to learn more.

“This is an incredibly disturbing development. We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life. A dozen AP journalists and freelancers were inside the building and thankfully we were able to evacuate them in time.

“The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today.”

A photographer captured the moment a missile attack destroyed the 14-story al-Sharouk Tower in Gaza city. (Photo: Newsflare via Associated Press)

Related: Israeli military accused of using media to trick Hamas

Following the bombing, the White House responded by saying Israel had a “paramount responsibility” to ensure the safety of journalists covering the spiraling conflict. U.S. President Joe Biden has urged a deescalation in the 5-day conflict between Hamas and Israel, but has publicly backed Israel’s right to self-defense from Hamas rockets fired from Gaza.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted Saturday that the U.S. had “communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility.”

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