“Give us 10 minutes”: How Israel bombed the Gaza Media Tower | Free Press

“Give us 10 minutes”: How Israel bombed the Gaza Media Tower | Free Press


Youmna al-Sayed was safe in less than an hour.

However, when only one elevator was working in the al-Jalaa tower, an 11-story building in Gaza City contained about 60 residential apartments and some offices, including offices of Al Jazeera Media Network and The Associated Press, al- Sayed to the stairs.

The Palestinian Free Press said: “We leave the elevators for the elderly and children to evacuate.” She added: “All of us are down the stairs. Who can help the children put them down.” “I helped the residents there myself. Two kids, and I took them downstairs-everyone was running fast.”

A moment ago, the Israeli army, which had bombarded the Gaza Strip for six consecutive days, had issued a telephone warning that the residents had evacuated the building only an hour before they evacuated. Its fighters attacked it.

Safwat al-Kahlout of Al Jazeera also had to act quickly. al-Kahlout said that he and his colleagues “started to collect as much as possible from individuals and equipment in the office (especially cameras).”

But it takes more time.

An Associated Press reporter pleaded with an Israeli intelligence agent on the phone: “Please give me 15 minutes.” Outside the building, he added: “We have a lot of equipment, including cameras and other things.” “I can take everything. Take everything out.”

The owner of the building, Jawad Mahdi, also tried to buy more time.

He told the officer: “What I want to ask is to let four people… go in and get their cameras.” “We respect your wishes. If you don’t allow it, we won’t do this, but give us 10 minutes. “

“There will be no ten minutes,” the officer replied. “No one is allowed to enter the building. We have given you an hour to evacuate.”

When the request was denied, Mahdi said: “You have destroyed our life’s work, memory and life. I will hang up and do what you want. There is a God.”

The Israeli army claimed that the building had “military interests of the Hamas intelligence agency”, which was the standard line used after the bombing of buildings in Gaza, and accused the group of operating territories of using journalists as human shields. However, it did not provide evidence to support its claim.

“I have been working in this office for more than 10 years and I have never seen anything [suspicious],” Al-Kahlout said.

He added: “I even asked my colleagues if they had seen anything suspicious, and they all confirmed to me that they had never seen any military aspect, and even fighter jets had never been in or out.”

“In our building, we have known many families for more than a decade, and we meet every day on the way in and out of the office.”

Associated Press President and CEO Gary Pruitt also told Al Jazeera: “I can tell you that our bureau has been in that building for 15 years. Of course we don’t know Hama. Si is there.”

Al-Sayed has been reporting on the Israeli bombing of Al Jazeera and working for the Associated Press. She said she could not understand the threats that houses, lawyers, doctors and media workers’ housing construction might pose.

“Where did the alert come from? Where is Hamas or any military personnel who might be in this building?” a Gaza resident asked.

“The people here, the residents, know each other. The first five floors are the offices [closed] During the upgrade.So basically what [still here] These are the two media offices and residential apartments of Al Jazeera and the Associated Press (AP). “

Still at 12:12 GMT (3:12 pm), Israel’s first strike took place. Five minutes later, the al-Jalaa tower fell to the ground after being hit by three missiles, which blew a cloud of black dust and debris into the air. There have been no reports of casualties.

“Reminiscences of many years, working in this building for many years, suddenly everything is in ruins,” said Al-Kahlout, speaking of the tower he often broadcasts from the roof. “It disappeared.”

When the lawyer Islam Az-Zaeem (Islam az-Zaeem) who worked in the building was at home, his cousin – the owner of the Johara building that was razed to the ground for the night on May 13 – knocked on the door, Tell him that Al-Jalaa is about to be destroyed.

“I ran to the building and saw residents and other employees gathered outside,” az-Zaeem told Al Jazeera.

“Because of the power outage and the elevator was not working properly, I went in and went up the stairs. I was a little hysterical and fell several times in the dark, yelling and crying.”

Az-Zaeem said there were nine legal partners and four interns working on his floor on his floor, and he left the building five minutes before it was razed to the ground.

He said: “Even after the building collapsed, I kept shouting that I forgot to lock the office door.” “Imagine it.”

The building was built in the mid-1990s and is one of the oldest high-rise buildings in Gaza City.

Fares al-Ghoul, executive director of Mayadeen Media Group, stated that his company was previously located in the Shorouq building, which was destroyed by Israeli missiles on May 13.

He said: “Shorouq’s top management is the target of the 2014 war.” “In 2019, we moved the company to the Al-Jalaa building because we thought it would be safer because it can accommodate the offices of international media organizations.”

He said: “Now both are destroyed.”

Jala bombing, Widely condemned Only a few hours after the Israeli air strikes on the Shati refugee camp, they tried to “suppress” journalists reporting on the Israeli offensive Killed 10 members of the same family -Eight children, two women-Eid al-Fitr, the religious holiday that celebrates the end of Ramadan (Ramadan)

Since Israel launched an air strike on the Palestinian coastal territories on Monday, at least 145 Palestinians, including 39 children, have been killed in the Gaza Strip. About 950 people were injured.

The violence occurred after Israel planned to deport Palestinian families from occupied East Jerusalem and beyond. Attack on Palestinian believers The protests in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound sparked widespread protests in Jerusalem, the occupied West Bank and within Israel. Hamas said that in response to Israel’s crackdown, Hamas began firing rockets at Israel. At least 9 people were killed in Israel.

As night fell in Gaza, families and journalists began to return to Jala, hoping to salvage some of the property buried in the rubble.

“A man came back to find some of his daughter’s paintings, because these paintings have a lot of memories,” said al-Kahlout, who continued to report on the streets of the bombed enclave. “We moved outside and are now applying the emergency plan for reporting. We are working hard to ensure safety. There is no safe place in Gaza, but we are doing our best.”

At the same time, Al-Sayed went to al-Shifa Hospital, which is considered a safe space for broadcasting. She said of the flattening of al-Jalaa’s architecture: “This is devastating.”

“I worked in that place and I was so sad that it was tragic to see it fell to the ground. We have unforgettable memories in every part of our work and life,” she added.

“What about the families who have lost their homes and everything they saved to save these apartments? In Gaza, renting an apartment is not an easy task, and now it only takes a few minutes. [they] Lose everything.

“Words cannot describe the extent of destruction, and cannot describe the tragedy that people are experiencing.”

A Palestinian policeman stands in the rubble of the Al-Jalaa building [Mohammed Salem/Reuters]

With other reports @LinahAlsaafin.

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