Journalists from around the world condemned the indiscriminate Israeli attack on Turkey's Anadolu Agency (AA) office in Gaza and stressed that an attack on the press constitutes a violation of international law. Journalists in Gaza and representatives of the nongovernmental organization (NGO) gathered Monday in front of the rubble of the AA office in a bid to protest the airstrike this weekend. Commenting on the attack, Palestinian Journalist Forum President Mohammed Abu Khamer told reporters "unless the invaders are put on trial before the international courts, attacks targeting media institutions will continue; this is neither the first one nor the last one." Pointing out that Israel mostly targets the press, Khamer said, "Israel has killed 55 journalists in the Palestinian territories."
The office of the AA and a Turkish aid organization in Gaza were hit by Israel over the weekend, as the military continued its indiscriminate attacks on civilians and residential buildings, leaving a 14-month-old baby and a pregnant woman dead.
Israeli warplanes hit the building with at least five rockets after warning shots. The offices of the Yardımeli Humanitarian Society NGO were also targeted by Israeli bombs.
Following the airstrikes, the Palestinian government, foreign news agencies and many Turkish officials including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan condemned the attacks.
A global news body, the International Press Institute (IPI), also condemned the attack yesterday.
"We urge the Israel Defense Forces and the government of Israel to refrain from any attacks on media organizations and to allow journalists to do their work without fear of being targeted," IPI Advocacy Director Ravi R. Prasad said in a statement.
Noting that the attack took place just a day after World Press Freedom Day, Nongovernmental Organization Network President Mohsen Abu Ramadan said Israel has deliberately violated human rights and international law. He added that Israel cannot halt the dissemination of its systematic atrocities against civilians by destroying press freedom.
Similar remarks also came from Iran's official news agency Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). IRNA General-Director Sayyid Ziya Hashemi yesterday conveyed his condolences to AA Director-General Şenol Kazancı, saying that he and his agency strongly condemns this attack.
Underlining that the attack was a part of the terrorist actions of Israel to sweep its atrocities against civilians under the carpet, Hashemi emphasized that the airstrike is an attack on all media members who have been trying to make their voices heard.
In relation to the issue, the Turkish Journalists' Association issued a written statement, referring to the attack as unacceptable and a violation of international law.
"Targeting AA building in Gaza is unacceptable. News agencies should be able to perform their duties in conflict zones. The attacks on journalists disregard international law and are within the definition of war crimes," the statement added. The escalation in the Gaza Strip started when four Palestinians were killed, including a teenager, and 51 wounded on Friday in Israeli attacks on Hamas-affiliated sites and a separate attack on a rally against the decade-long occupation and siege of the Gaza strip.
Since Saturday, 25 Palestinians, including two pregnant women and two infants, were killed and more than 100 others wounded by Israeli air strikes.
However, the al-Aqsa media outlet reported yesterday that a cease-fire was established to end the recent surge of violence between the Palestinian fighters and Israeli, citing anonymous Palestinian officials. No Israeli air raids on the region have been reported since the deal came into effect although there was no confirmation from the Israeli side.
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