One person was killed when Israel struck AFP’s Gaza bureau for the second time in two days. The IDF claimed the media buildings, which included the AFP bureau, were being used by Hamas to direct military operations, and were legitimate targets.
The IDF has targeted Gaza media buildings for three consecutive days as part of Israel’s ongoing ‘Pillar of Defense’ operation. On Tuesday, two Israeli strikes killed three Palestinian journalists. The building housing AFP was hit in another attack later, and no casualties were reported. A Wednesday attack on AFP’s building killed a two-year-old child.
"The child Abdul Rahman Majdi Naeem was martyred and another citizen was wounded in the targeting of the Naama building," Health Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qudra told AFP.
Mahmoud al-Koumi and Husam Salameh, camera operators for local TV station al-Aqsa, were killed in a car marked as a press vehicle near the al-Wihda towers in Gaza. Both journalists were 30 years old and had four children.
Two other al-Aqsa employees were wounded in the first strike. The second attack killed the director of al-Quds Educational Radio, Muhammad Abu Aisha, in his car.
A series of explosions followed by a widespread blackout were also reported near the Al Shorook building in Gaza, which houses several media outlets.
Later on, air strikes targeted two hotels in Gaza where reporters covering the Israeli assault were staying. No deaths were reported, but Press TV correspondent Akram al-Sattari was injured. Hugh Naylor of the National newspaper told Ma'an news agency said the blasts blew out windows in the Deira and Beach hotels.
Following Tuesday’s attacks, the IDF wrote on Twitter that its air forces “surgically targeted a Hamas operations center on the 7th floor of a media building in Gaza,” with a “direct hit confirmed.” The IDF also tweeted a warning to all journalists to stay away from Hamas facilities within Gaza territory, claiming that the group will use them as human shields.
The al-Qassam Brigades wrote back: “Warning to Israelis: Stay away from Israeli #IDF = #IOF, We just targeting Israeli soldiers, fighter jets, tanks and bases."