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World Watchdog Asks International Court to Investigate Bombing of Gaza Building Housing Media Offices

18:05  17 may  2021
18:05  17 may  2021 Source:   newsweek.com

Gaza militants, children among 24 dead as Israel hits Hamas

  Gaza militants, children among 24 dead as Israel hits Hamas The escalation in the conflict was sparked by weeks of tensions in contested Jerusalem. © Khalil Hamra/AP Photo Flares by Israeli forces light up the sky of eastern Gaza Strip on May 11. Since sundown Monday when the cross-border attacks began, 24 Palestinians — including nine children — were killed in Gaza, most by airstrikes, Gaza health officials said. The Israeli military said 15 of the dead were militants. During the same period, Gaza militants fired more than 250 rockets toward Israel, injuring six Israeli civilians in a direct hit on an apartment building.

Following the bombing of a Gaza building housing the Associated Press, Al-Jazeera and other media outlets by an Israeli airstrike, many are calling for an investigation into Israel.

a train on a track with smoke coming out of it: The building housing the offices of The Associated Press and other media in Gaza City collapses after it was hit by an Israeli airstrike Saturday, May 15, 2021. The attack came roughly an hour after the Israeli military warned people to evacuate the building, which also housed Al-Jazeera and a number of offices and apartments. A media watchdog is now calling for the international community to conduct an investigation into the attack by Israel. © /Hatem Moussa/AP Photo The building housing the offices of The Associated Press and other media in Gaza City collapses after it was hit by an Israeli airstrike Saturday, May 15, 2021. The attack came roughly an hour after the Israeli military warned people to evacuate the building, which also housed Al-Jazeera and a number of offices and apartments. A media watchdog is now calling for the international community to conduct an investigation into the attack by Israel.

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders asked the International Criminal Court to investigate Israeli's bombing of the building that it said was home to Hamas operations.

Gaza's Wounded Now Filling Hospital Beds Set Aside for COVID Patients

  Gaza's Wounded Now Filling Hospital Beds Set Aside for COVID Patients "Before the military attacks, we had major shortages and could barely manage with the second [virus] wave," Gaza Health Ministry official Abdelatif al-Hajj told the Associated Press. "Now casualties are coming from all directions, really critical casualties. I fear a total collapse."As the conflict continues, hospitals say they won't be able to care for COVID-19 patients.

Associated Press Executive Director Sally Buzbee said the Israeli government has not provided clear evidence to support the bombing and also called for an "independent investigation."

"We are in a conflict situation," Buzbee said. "We do not take sides in that conflict. We heard Israelis say they have evidence; we don't know what that evidence is."

She added that the AP believes it is "appropriate at this point for there to be an independent look at what happened yesterday."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday he hasn't yet seen any evidence supporting Israel's claim that Hamas operated in a Gaza building housing the Associated Press and other media outlets that was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike.

West Bank erupts in protest amid more Israel-Hamas fighting

  West Bank erupts in protest amid more Israel-Hamas fighting GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Turmoil from the battle between Israel and Hamas spilled over into the West Bank on Friday, sparking the most widespread Palestinian protests in years as hundreds of young demonstrators in multiple towns clashed with Israeli troops, who shot and killed at least 11 people. Israel's bombardment of the Gaza Strip continued into early Saturday, when an airstrike on a house in Gaza City killed at least seven Palestinians — the highest number of fatalities in a single hit. That strike came a day after a furious overnight barrage of tank fire and airstrikes that wreaked destruction in some towns, killed a family of six in their house and sent thousands fleeing their homes.

Blinken spoke at a news conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, a day after the AP's top editor called for an independent investigation into the Israeli airstrike over the weekend that targeted and destroyed a Gaza City building housing the AP, broadcaster Al-Jazeera and other media, saying the public deserves to know the facts.

Blinken said he personally has not seen any Israeli evidence of Hamas operating in the building and has asked Israel for justification for the strike.

"Shortly after the strike we did request additional details regarding the justification for it," Blinken said from Copenhagen, Denmark. He declined to discuss specific intelligence, saying he "will leave it to others to characterize if any information has been shared and our assessment that information."

But he said, "I have not seen any information provided."

The Israeli military, which gave AP journalists and other tenants about an hour to evacuate, claimed Hamas used the building for a military intelligence office and weapons development. Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said Israel was compiling evidence for the U.S. but declined to commit to providing it within the next two days.

Gaza's Lone Power Station Could Run Out of Fuel in Coming Days as Conflict With Israel Continues

  Gaza's Lone Power Station Could Run Out of Fuel in Coming Days as Conflict With Israel Continues "If the aggression continues, we expect conditions to become worse," Gaza Mayor Yahya Sarraj told Al-Jazeera TV. The United Nations also warned that Gaza's only power station is at risk of running out of fuel.Gaza's electricity distribution company has enough fuel to power the territory's electricity for two or three days, company spokesman Mohammed Thabet told the Associated Press. He added that the Israeli airstrikes have also damaged supply lines and the continued bombing is preventing company staff from reaching areas that were hit.

On Sunday, Conricus, the Israeli military spokesman said, "We're in the middle of fighting. That's in process and I'm sure in due time that information will be presented."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would share any evidence of Hamas' presence in the targeted building through intelligence channels. But neither the White House nor the State Department would say if any American official had seen it.

Buzbee said the AP has had offices in al-Jalaa tower for 15 years and never was informed or had any indication that Hamas might be in the building. She said the facts must be laid out.

In remarks Sunday, Netanyahu repeated Israel's claim that the building housed an intelligence office of Hamas. Asked if he had relayed supporting evidence of that in a call with President Joe Biden on Saturday, Netanyahu said that "we pass it through our intelligence people."

The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders, known by its French acronym RSF, said in a letter to the court's chief prosecutor that the offices of 23 international and local media organizations have been destroyed over the past six days.

EXPLAINER: How did Hamas grow its arsenal to strike Israel?

  EXPLAINER: How did Hamas grow its arsenal to strike Israel? DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In this fourth war between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers, the Islamic militant group has fired more than 4,000 rockets at Israel, some hitting deeper in Israeli territory and with greater accuracy than ever before. The unprecedented barrages reaching as far north as the seaside metropolis of Tel Aviv, coupled with drone launches and even an attempted submarine attack, have put on vivid display a homegrown arsenal that has only expanded despite the choke hold of a 14-year Israeli-Egyptian blockade.

RSF said it had strong reason to believe that the Israeli military's "intentional targeting of media organizations and intentional destruction of their equipment" could violate one of the court's statutes. It said the attacks serve "to reduce, if not neutralize, the media's capacity to inform the public."

RSF asked the international court, based in the Dutch city of The Hague, to include the recent attacks in a war crimes probe opened in March into Israel's practices in Palestinian territories.

Buzbee said the AP journalists were "rattled" after the airstrike but are doing fine and reporting the news. She expressed concern about the impact on news coverage.

"This does impact the world's right to know what is happening on both sides of the conflict in real time," she said.

Blinken spoke by phone Saturday with AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt. The State Department said Blinken offered "his unwavering support for independent journalists and media organizations around the world and noted the indispensability of their reporting in conflict zones."

Buzbee and Conricus spoke on CNN's Reliable Sources and Netanyahu was on CBS' Face the Nation.

a man talking on a cell phone: Palestinian journalists stand in shock following the destruction of Jala Tower, which was housing international press offices, by an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip on May 15, 2021. A media watchdog is calling for an independent investigation into Israel's attack on the building in Gaza. MOHAMMED ABED/AFP via Getty Images © MOHAMMED ABED/AFP via Getty Images Palestinian journalists stand in shock following the destruction of Jala Tower, which was housing international press offices, by an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip on May 15, 2021. A media watchdog is calling for an independent investigation into Israel's attack on the building in Gaza. MOHAMMED ABED/AFP via Getty Images

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Israel-Hamas ceasefire holds, Egyptian mediators shuttle between the two sides .
Israel-Hamas ceasefire holds, Egyptian mediators shuttle between the two sidesGAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas-led Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip held on Saturday as Egyptian mediators pressed on with talks with the two sides on securing longer-term calm, officials said.

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