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Israeli fighter planes destroy television station offices

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is an IFJ media release:

IFJ CONDEMNS ISRAEL FOR STRIKE ON TELEVISION DURING GAZA BLITZ

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has condemned Israel over an attack on a television station in Gaza during its military offensive against Hamas in the Palestinian Gaza Strip.

Israeli fighter planes destroyed the offices of Al Aqsa Television, which was targeted early on Sunday. The station is used by Hamas and is hostile to Israel in its partisan coverage of the region. Its studio building was destroyed and one cameraman was reported as injured, but the station remained on the air with a mobile unit.

"Once again, Israel shows contempt for international law, which forbids attacks on media installations, even when they are instruments of propaganda," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "Putting media people in harm's way does not advance one inch the cause of security as it only hardens attitudes and undermines Israel's claim to be the region's leading democracy."

The IFJ and other press freedom advocates have consistently condemned attacks on unarmed media installations which are not being used for military purposes and which are protected under international law. It has previously condemned Israel for attacking the premises of the Palestine Broadcasting Corporation on the West Bank and has criticised the United States for assaults on media in Iraq.

"The fact that Al Aqsa Television broadcasts material which Israel finds offensive is no excuse for military strikes on unarmed civilians," said White. "This type of assault shows that when it comes to its own military and political agenda Israel is willing to abandon its responsibilities under international law."

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 123 countries worldwide.

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