With its continued refusal, after 20 days, to allow international journalists into the Gaza Strip to cover the ongoing war, the Israeli government is no stranger to being accused of attacks on freedom of the press. But earlier today, attacks on journalists’ ability to cover the war turned into an attack on journalists.
Just minutes after Israeli forces assured Reuters that a 16-story Gaza building used as a media center by correspondents for the international press was not a military target, it was targeted. Much as the United Nations did with its schools, Reuters provided the Israeli military with coordinates for the building to ensure that it wouldn’t be hit.
But hit it was, in a strike the Foreign Press Association called “unconscionable.” Two journalists were moderately wounded in the attack. As with every other attack, the Israeli military insisted that the location was targeted for being used “for terrorist purposes.” The military added that Hamas is “supported by Iran” and accused them of “deliberately and cynically” operating within civilian areas. Though firefights were reported in the area (bullets from which also went through the windows of an Associated Press office in a different, nearby building), there was no indication that any of it came from the building, either before or after the Israeli attack.