Israel claims Hamas tried to disrupt Iron Dome from Gaza tower
The Israeli air force bombed the 12-story al-Jalaa tower on May 15, about an hour after ordering the evacuation of all the occupants.
A Palestinian boy walks past the ruins of his home after an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City. Samar Abu Elouf / The New York Times
Gaza City: Israel’s ambassador to the United States said Tuesday that Hamas militants attempted to disrupt Israel’s Iron Dome rocket defense system from a residential building in Gaza. The Associated Press and other media, prompting the Israeli air force to destroy the skyscraper last month.
The AP said he has seen no evidence to support the claim.
Ambassador Gilad Erdan issued his statement a day after meeting with AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt and Ian Phillips, vice president of international news, at AP headquarters in New York.
The Israeli air force bombed the 12-story al-Jalaa tower on May 15, about an hour after ordering the evacuation of all the occupants. No one was injured, but the building was destroyed. The building housed the AP offices, the Al Jazeera satellite channel, and dozens of families.
The airstrike came during an 11-day war between Israel and the ruling militant group Hamas in Gaza.
In a statement on Twitter, Erdan said he told AP executives that the building was used by Hamas to disrupt the Iron Dome, which intercepted hundreds of incoming rockets fired by the militant group during the fighting.
Erdan said the airstrike did not intentionally target journalists.
“AP it is one of the most important news agencies in the world and Israel does not suspect that its employees knew that a covert Hamas unit was using the building in this way, “he said.
“I reaffirmed that Israel upholds the importance of freedom of the press and strives to ensure the safety of journalists wherever they are reporting. Israel is ready to assist the AP in rebuilding its offices and operations in Gaza, “he added.
The meeting with Erdan “was a positive and constructive conversation,” said the AP it said in a statement. The agency expressed its appreciation for its promises to help rebuild a PA office in Gaza.
The AP renewed its call to see evidence to back up Israel’s claim that Hamas militants were operating in the building.
“The Israeli authorities maintain that the building that houses our office was destroyed due to the presence of Hamas posing an urgent threat,” said the AP saying. “We have not yet received evidence to support these claims. AP He continues to call for the full disclosure of any evidence the Israelis have so that the facts are public.”
The AP has repeatedly urged Israel to share any evidence supporting its claims of Hamas’s activity in the building. It has also called for an independent investigation into the incident.