The Associated Press says it has seen no evidence to support Israel's claims about why it destroyed the 12-storey tower that also housed Al Jazeera during the last month's brutal assault on Gaza.
Israel's military has claimed it destroyed a tower block in Gaza that housed the Associated Press because it was used by Hamas as an electronic warfare site.
Israeli Ambassador Gilad Erdan to the US issued his statement on Tuesday, a day after meeting AP President CEO Gary Pruitt and vice president for international news Ian Phillips at the agency's New York headquarters.
AP has called for a release of evidence to support Israel's assertion.
Israel's destruction of the 12-storey tower, which also housed Qatar-based media group Al Jazeera in its war on Gaza in May drew international condemnation and calls by Israel's main ally the US to protect journalists.
The al Jalaa building in Gaza City had been evacuated after its owner received advanced warning of the May 15 strike.
Smoke rising from what was the building housing our @AP office in #Gaza moments after Israeli jets destroyed it. I and my colleagues evacuated safely, leaving behind our best memories. Thank you for all your wishes. I’m sorry I can’t respond to inquiries now as we are overwhelmed pic.twitter.com/5ccRQggckD— Fares Akram (@faresakram) May 15, 2021
AP calls for release of evidence
In a statement on Twitter, Erdan said he told AP executives that the building was used by Hamas to disrupt the Iron Dome, which intercepted hundreds of incoming rockets fired by the militant group during the fighting.
"Israeli authorities maintain that the building housing our bureau was destroyed because of a Hamas presence that posed an urgent threat. We have yet to receive evidence to support these claims," the AP said in a statement.
"AP continues to call for the full release of any evidence the Israelis have so that the facts are public."
The Israeli military had said the purpose of the strike "was to curtail these enemy capabilities, including destroying special equipment, and preventing their use during the operation...The strike was designed to collapse the building in order to ensure the destruction of the special means."