The Gaza office of the Qatar-based satellite channel Al Jazeera was evacuated on Tuesday night after being targeted by Israeli fire, reported the Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Al Jazeera reporter Stefanie Dekker said that two direct shots targeted the building that housed the office on the 11th floor. Other media outlets including the Associated Press also have offices in the same building, which is largely residential.
Dekker claimed that the shots were consistent with the warning shots the Israeli army typically fires to alert residents that their buildings would be targeted by incoming air strikes.
Al Jazeera staff evacuated the building along with families from the residential Shujaya neighborhood in east Gaza, who had taken shelter in the building after their homes were decimated by military shelling, according to the AFP.
“Israeli authorities bear responsibility for the safety of [the Al Jazeera] crew in Gaza after the shooting incident targeting the office,” read a statement posted on the network’s website.
The channel added that it was the victim of a hostile Israeli campaign in response to its coverage of the Israeli crackdown on civilians in Gaza.
Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman was quoted as saying that Al Jazeera “is not practicing journalistic work, but brainwashing people.” He also accused the channel of “standing in the heart of terrorist organizations’ media campaigns.”
This is not the first time journalists have been targeted by Israeli forces during its two-week campaign in the Gaza Strip. On Sunday, 25-year-old photojournalist Khaled Hamad was killed in the artillery shelling of Shujaya. Photos of Hamad’s body showed him wearing a helmet and a vest clearly marked “press.”
The same attack targeted an ambulance evacuating the injured, which claimed the life of 28-year-old medic Fouad Jaber.
Palestinian NGOs accused Israeli of targeting media personnel because they “expose Israeli massacres to the world.”