This is the moment a 13-floor building housing Al Jazeera television and Associated Press is destroyed by an Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip and sends a huge mushroom cloud into the sky.
Israel ‘destroyed Jala Tower in the Gaza Strip, which contains the Al Jazeera and other international press offices,’ Al Jazeera said in a tweet.
The strike on the building housing media offices came in the afternoon, after the building’s owner received a call from the Israeli military warning that it would be hit.
Broadcast footage from Al Jazeera, the news network funded by Qatar’s government, shows the building collapsing to the ground after the Israeli air strike, sending up a huge mushroom cloud of dust and debris.
‘This channel will not be silenced. Al-Jazeera will not be silenced,’ an on-air anchorwoman said, her voice thick with emotion. ‘We can guarantee you that right now.’
Jawad Mehdi, the owner of the Jala Tower, said an Israeli intelligence officer warned him he had just one hour to ensure the evacuation of the building.
AP’s staff and others in the building evacuated immediately.
The strike came hours after another Israeli air raid on a densely populated refugee camp in Gaza City killed at least 10 Palestinians from an extended family, mostly children, in the deadliest single strike of the current conflict.
The aftermath following the Israeli strike, which destroyed Jala Tower – a 13-floor building housing Al Jazeera television and Associated Press
Israel ‘destroyed Jala Tower in the Gaza Strip, which contains the Al Jazeera and other international press offices,’ Al Jazeera said in a tweet. It was reported the army had warned the tower’s owner ahead of the strike on Saturday
The bomb seen hurtling towards the building. Jawad Mehdi, the owner of the Jala Tower, said an Israeli intelligence officer warned him he had just one hour to ensure the evacuation of the building
A ball of fire erupts from the Jala Tower as it is destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City. It came hours after another Israeli air raid on a densely populated refugee camp in Gaza City killed at least 10 Palestinians from an extended family
Smoke billows as an air bomb is dropped on the Jala Tower during an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City. Wael al-Dahdouh, Al Jazeera’s bureau chief in Gaza, said: ‘It’s terrible, very sad, to target the Al Jazeera and other press bureaux’
A building housing various international media, including Al Jazeera and The Associated Press, collapses after an Israeli airstrike on Saturday, May 15, in Gaza City
A ball of fire erupts from the Jala Tower as it is destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on Saturday, May 15
In a phone call with the officer, he was heard begging for an extra 10 minutes to allow journalists to retrieve their equipment before leaving.
‘Give us ten extra minutes,’ he urged, but the officer on the other end of the line refused.
Wael al-Dahdouh, Al Jazeera’s bureau chief in Gaza, said: ‘It’s terrible, very sad, to target the Al Jazeera and other press bureaux’.
Israel alleged its ‘fighter jets attacked a high-rise building which hosted military assets belonging to the military intelligence of the Hamas terror organisation’.
It said: ‘The building also hosted offices of civilian media outlets, which the Hamas terror group hides behind and uses as human shields.’
Both sides have pressed for an advantage as ceasefire efforts gather strength.
The latest outburst of violence began in Jerusalem and has spread across the region, with Jewish-Arab clashes and rioting in mixed cities of Israel.
There were also widespread Palestinian protests on Friday in the occupied West Bank, where Israeli forces shot and killed 11 people.
A thick column of black smoke rises from the Jala Tower as it is destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on May 15
Families who live in Jala Tower, a high-rise housing AP and other media offices, flee the building before Israeli airstrikes on Saturday, May 15
A ball of fire erupts from the Jala Tower as it is destroyed on May 15. Israeli air strikes pounded the Gaza Strip overnight, killing 10 members of an extended family and demolishing a key media building
Dust settles following the destruction of the Jala Tower in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on Saturday afternoon, May 15
Smoke rises as the 13-floor building collapses after an Israeli airstrike hits Jala Tower, which houses apartments and several media outlets, including the Associated Press and Al Jazeera
Smoke rises from the Jala Tower as it collapses after being bombed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on Saturday, May 15
Debris and smashed windows fall towards the ground after an Israeli airstrike hits the high-rise building on Saturday
A Palestinian policeman looks on at the rubble of the building that house the Associated Press and Al Jazeera’s offices in Gaza City after it was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike
The spiralling violence has raised fears of a new Palestinian ‘intifada’, or uprising, at a time when there have been no peace talks in years.
Palestinians on Saturday were marking Nakba (Catastrophe) Day, when they commemorate the estimated 700,000 people who were expelled from or fled their homes in what is now Israel during the 1948 war surrounding its creation. That raised the possibility of even more unrest.
US diplomat Hady Amr arrived on Friday as part of Washington’s efforts to de-escalate the conflict, and the UN Security Council is set to meet on Sunday.
Israel has turned down an Egyptian proposal for a one-year truce that Hamas rulers had accepted, an Egyptian official revealed.
Since Monday night, Hamas has fired hundreds of rockets into Israel, which has responded by pounding the Gaza Strip with strikes.
In Gaza, at least 139 people have been killed, including 39 children and 22 women; in Israel, eight people have been killed, including the death on Saturday of a man killed by a rocket that hit in Ramat Gan, a suburb of Tel Aviv.
Earlier on Saturday, an airstrike hit a three-story house in Gaza City’s Shati refugee camp, killing eight children and two women from an extended family.
Mohammed Hadidi told reporters his wife and five children had gone to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr holiday with relatives.
A nurse holds a baby, who was pulled alive from underneath rubble while other members of his family perished, at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on Saturday after an Israeli air strike hit al-Shati Refugee Camp without advance warning overnight
The baby boy is reported to have been found next to the body of his deceased mother. Hamas militants responded by firing more rockets into Israel as their battle entered a fifth consecutive night and a US envoy arrived for talks
The two nurses seen wearing face masks as one holds the baby boy at Al-Shifa Hospital. Ten members of a single family – eight children and two women – were killed when a three-storey building in Shati refugee camp collapsed following an Israel strike
A nurse holds the baby boy at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. An airstrike on a house in Gaza City killed at least 10 Palestinians, mostly children – the highest number of fatalities in a single hit since the battle erupted earlier this week
A man gestures as he prepares with others to bury the bodies of Palestinian children and their mother from the Al-Hadidi family, who were killed amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence, during their funeral at a cemetery on May 15
Palestinians take part in the funeral of the Abu Hatab family in Gaza City on May 15 – an extended family of 10 who were killed early in an Israeli air strike on the western Gaza Strip
She and three of the children, aged six to 14, were killed, while an 11-year-old is missing. Only his five-month-old son Omar is known to have survived.
Children’s toys and a Monopoly board game could be seen among the rubble, as well as plates of uneaten food from the holiday gathering.
‘There was no warning,’ said Jamal Al-Naji, a neighbour living in the same building. ‘You filmed people eating and then you bombed them?’ he said, addressing Israel.
‘Why are you confronting us? Go and confront the strong people!’
The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Hamas said it fired a salvo of rockets at southern Israel in response to the air strike.
A furious Israeli barrage early on Friday killed a family of six in their house and sent thousands fleeing to UN-run shelters.
Israeli beachgoers rush towards shelters in the central city of Tel Aviv on May 15 following the launching of rockets from the Gaza Strip controlled by the Palestinian Hamas movement towards Israel
Israeli beachgoers take cover in the central city of Tel Aviv on May 15 following the launching of rockets from the Gaza Strip
Israeli beachgoers and a dog are seen rushing towards shelters in the central city of Tel Aviv on May 15 after the launching of rockets
Israeli beachgoers are seen rushing towards shelters in Tel Aviv. Rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip controlled by the Palestinian Hamas movement towards Israel
Israeli beachgoers pictured going towards shelters in Tel Aviv. Israel, which is also trying to contain an outbreak of internal Jewish-Arab violence, is facing its bloodiest conflict with Palestinian militants in Gaza since a 2014 war
The military said the operation involved 160 warplanes dropping some 80 tonnes of explosives over the course of 40 minutes and succeeded in destroying a vast tunnel network used by Hamas.
Lt Col Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman, said the military aims to minimise collateral damage in striking military targets. But measures it takes in other strikes, such as warning shots to get civilians to leave, were not ‘feasible this time’.
Israeli media said the military believed dozens of militants were killed inside the tunnels.
The Hamas and Islamic Jihad militant groups have confirmed 20 deaths in their ranks, but the military said the real number is far higher.
Gaza’s infrastructure, already in widespread disrepair because of an Israeli-Egyptian blockade imposed after Hamas seized power in 2007, showed signs of breaking down further, compounding residents’ misery.
The territory’s sole power plant is at risk of running out of fuel in the coming days.
The UN said Gazans are experiencing daily power cuts of eight to 12 hours and at least 230,000 have limited access to tap water.
The impoverished and densely populated territory is home to two million Palestinians, most of them the descendants of refugees from what is now Israel.
Pedestrians look on as barricade tape surrounds an area hit by a rocket fired from Gaza, in Ramat Gan, Tel Aviv District, Israel, on May 15 in an image obtained from social media
A fireball and smoke billow up into the air during an Israeli airstrike on Gaza City targeting the Ansar compound, linked to the Hamas movement, in the Gaza Strip early on May 15
A Palestinian firefighter speaks to colleagues following an Israeli strike on Rafah town in the southern Gaza Strip on May 15
Palestinians inspect the damages following Israeli air strikes in Gaza City amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence on May 15
The conflict has reverberated widely. Israeli cities with mixed Arab and Jewish populations have seen daily violence, with mobs from each community fighting in the streets and destroying each other’s property.
The tensions began in east Jerusalem earlier this month, with Palestinian protests against the Sheikh Jarrah evictions and Israeli police measures at Al-Aqsa Mosque, a frequent flashpoint located on a mount in the Old City revered by Muslims and Jews.
Hamas fired rockets toward Jerusalem late Monday, in an apparent attempt to present itself as the champion of the protesters.
During the conflict that spiralled from there, Israel said it wants to inflict as much damage as it can on Hamas’ military infrastructure in Gaza.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed that Hamas will ‘pay a very heavy price’ for its rocket attacks, as Israel masses troops at the frontier.
US president Joe Biden has expressed support for Israel while saying he hopes to bring the violence under control.