Associated Press opens new Gaza bureau one year after Israel bombed its office
The Associated Press on Tuesday announced that it was opening a new bureau in the besieged Gaza Strip, more than a year after Israel bombed the building housing its office.
Twelve AP staffers and freelancers were inside the building when the Israeli military telephoned a warning, giving occupants one hour to evacuate before it destroyed the tower.
The building also housed the offices of pan-Arab television network Al Jazeera and other media outlets, as well as residential apartments.
"AP’s resilient Gaza team has never wavered, even in the moments our bureau collapsed and in the weeks that followed," an AP press release quoted the news agency's president and CEO Daisy Veerasingham as saying.
“The Associated Press has operated in Gaza for more than half a century and remains committed to telling the story of Gaza and its people.”
Since the bombing, AP has conducted its Gaza operations from temporary offices.
Israel claimed at the time of the bombing that Palestinian militant group Hamas had been operating from the building, but did not provide evidence proving this.
Last year's Israeli bombing campaign destroyed more than 30 media offices in the Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate.
Israel continues to endanger and kill journalists. Veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed by Israeli sniper fire in May, leading to worldwide outrage.
In the wake of Abu Akleh's death, AP and other Western news agencies were accused of tiptoeing around explicitly blaming Israel for the killing - despite eyewitnesses saying the Palestinian journalist, who held US citizenship, had been shot dead by an Israeli sniper.