AFP calls for investigation over strike on Gaza bureau
AFP on Saturday called on Israel for 'an in-depth and transparent investigation' into the exact involvement of its forces after a strike severely damaged its office in Gaza City, which has been shelled for weeks.
AFP "has taken note of the recent statements from the Israeli army spokesman concerning 'an army strike nearby (the AFP office) that might have caused debris'," it said in a statement.
However, "this statement on its own does not explain the extent of the damage caused to the AFP bureau", located on the top floors of an 11-storey building, it said of Thursday's incident.
"A strike on the offices of an international news agency sends a deeply troubling message to all the journalists working in such difficult conditions in Gaza," said AFP chairman and CEO Fabrice Fries.
"It is essential that all efforts are made to protect media in Gaza," he added.
According to media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF), more than 30 journalists have been killed since the beginning of the war between Israel and Hamas.
RSF has filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court alleging war crimes committed against Palestinian journalists in Gaza.
AFP is one of the few international media organisations to have an office in the Gaza Strip.
It employs a total of nine people there and is "redoubling its efforts to allow employees and their families to evacuate if they wish to leave".
AFP's live video feed broadcasting 24/7 from Gaza City has been temporarily suspended since Saturday, for reasons outside AFP's control.
Hundreds of protestors in London staged a sit-in at London’s King’s Cross Station to demand a ceasefire in Gaza. The UK Transport Secretary Mark Harper had given an order earlier on Friday to allow police to stop the demonstration. #GazaGenocide pic.twitter.com/e6yPmzIkbF— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) November 4, 2023
An AFP employee who visited the office on Friday said an explosive projectile appeared to have entered the technician's office in the bureau horizontally from east to west.
The strike destroyed the wall opposite the window and caused significant damage to the adjacent room and other doors. It also punctured water tanks on the roof.
Israeli forces have encircled Gaza's largest city, following Hamas' October 7 raids into southern Israel that officials say killed around 1,400 people, while more than 240 hostages were taken.
The health ministry in Gaza, says more than 9,480 Gazans, mostly women and children, have been killed in Israeli strikes and the intensifying ground campaign.