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AP, Jazeera offices damaged in Gaza airstrikes

Nov. 21, 2012 2:08 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 22, 2012 8:39 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli airstrikes damaged buildings housing media offices for the fourth day in a row on Wednesday, causing damage but no injuries, reporters said.

The attacks followed airstrikes that killed three Palestinian reporters on Tuesday.

The first overnight attack targeted a building housing the Gaza City office of Agence France-Presse, an AFP photographer said. He said at least three attacks appeared to have hit the sixth floor.

After midnight Wednesday, Al Jazeera said its bureau in Gaza City was damaged after an airstrike hit the nearby Abu Khadra government building.

A reporter for The Associated Press said the AP's office was also damaged.

An Israeli military spokeswoman told Ma'an that the airstrike on central Gaza City's Abu Khadra building targeted a "terror activity site."

Earlier, Israel's army confirmed hitting one media building and said the attack targeted a "Hamas intelligence operations center."

After hitting one of the media buildings, the army also wrote a warning on Twitter to reporters to "Stay away from Hamas operatives & facilities."

Meanwhile attacks caused damage to two hotels hosting international media.

Reporter Hugh Naylor of the National newspaper told Ma'an that the attacks, either from airstrikes or mortar fire at a vacant lot, blew out the windows of the Deira and Beach hotels.

Press TV meanwhile reported that its correspondent Akram al-Sattari was injured.

The bombings early Wednesday followed two deadly attacks on journalists a day earlier which spread anger throughout the Palestinian press corps.

Press freedom group Mada condemned Tuesday's attacks as a "heinous crime ... (and) a flagrant breach of the international conventions that protect journalists."

The Committee to Protect Journalists urged Israel to immediately halt airstrikes targeting news media offices in Gaza.

"Israel should respect its obligations under international law and immediately halt its attacks against news media offices," said CPJ official Sherif Mansour.

"Authorities know these buildings are home to numerous news organizations whose employees are civilians protected by international law."

On Sunday, Israeli airstrikes damaged two media offices, injuring at least six journalists. The Al-Shawa building, struck first, houses Ma'an News Agency's headquarters in the Gaza Strip.
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