The Associated Press said Sunday it wants an independent investigation of Israel's decision to raze its longtime office building in Gaza City. Israel said it leveled the 12-story al-Jalaa tower, which also housed Al-Jazeera and other media organizations, on Saturday because it was being used by Hamas for military intelligence and weapons development.
AP executive editor Sally Buzbee pointed out Sunday that Israel has not provided any evidence Hamas was using the building. Nor was AP aware, it its 15 years in the office, it was sharing a building with Hamas, she said.
"We heard Israelis say they have evidence; we don't know what that evidence is," Buzbee told CNN. "We think it's appropriate at this point for there to be an independent look at what happened yesterday — an independent investigation."
Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a Paris-based media watchdog organization, asked the International Criminal Court to investigate Israel's bombing of the media tower and its evident "intentional targeting of media organizations and intentional destruction of their equipment" as a possible war crime.
Israel said it will provide evidence that Hamas was using the building to the U.S. through intelligence channels. "We're in the middle of fighting," Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said Sunday. "That's in process and I'm sure in due time that information will be presented."
AP reporter Fares Akram described fleeing the al-Jalaa tower after being told he had 10 minutes to vacate the office, probably forever:
What did I need? I grabbed my laptop and a few other pieces of electronics. What else? I looked at the workspace that had been mine for years, brimming with mementos from friends, family, and colleagues. I chose just a handful: a decorative plate bearing a picture of my family. A coffee mug given me by my daughter, now living safely in Canada with her sister and my wife since 2017. A certificate marking five years of employment at AP.
I started to leave. Then I looked back at this place that had been my second home for years. I realized this was the last time I might ever see it. It was just after 2 p.m. I looked around. I was the last person there. I put on my helmet. And I ran. [Fares Akram, The Associated Press]
You can read the rest of Akram's account at The Associated Press, and watch a video of the hurried evacuation below.