A video of a man pleading with an Israeli intelligence officer to wait ten minutes before initiating the air strike on al-Jalaa, a residential cum commercial building in Gaza which housed many media outlets, is viral with the false claim that he is the director of news agency Al Jazeera. The viral claim further falsely adds that the the building was destroyed because the news outlet broadcasted fake news about Israel.
The viral video is being shared days after Israel on May 15, struck down al-Jalaa tower in Gaza, which primarly had residential apartments and offices of media agencies like the Associated Press and Al Jazeera. According to reports, the building's occupants were given an hour's warning to evacuate with other reports suggest that some got only 15 minutes to rush to safety. Gary Pruitt, president and CEO of the Associated Press in a statement called the attack "a disturbing development" and added that the destruction of the office would mean "The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today."
The video caption praises Israel for its alleged confidence in giving a warning and then attacking. The caption describes how the man is pleading with the officer and says, "Director of Al Jazeera Palestine was begging for extra 10 minutes to Israel Army officer. But he refused to give any extra time and destroyed the Al Jazeera Building in Palestine in minutes. They asked them to evacuate the building first and then used GPS guided rockets to destroy the Al Jazeera HO Building. The punishment is for broadcasting fake news about Israel. Now all the other Media Channels are careful about the news they're publishing about Israel. Hats off Israel, attack with early warning, accuracy, technology & confidence."
BOOM first looked up reports of the air strike on al-Jalaa which was widely reported and also live streamed by the Al Jazeera.
Further reports about the strike, spoke about the warning given to the building's owner and the occupants including journalists to evacuate, who rushed out carrying only as little belongings as they could.
We found the same viral video published by the Al Jazeera English on its verified Facebook page, where they reported that the building's owner Jawad Mahadi, pleaded with an Israeli intelligence officer to allow some journalists to go back in so they could bring out some more equipment like cameras. He can be heard telling the Israeli officer who is on a call with him that they are journalists and not people who will go inside with combat equipment but his repeated requests are turned down.
The video identifies the person as Jawad Mahdi, owner of Jala tower and not the director of Al Jazeera's palestine bureau and is captioned, "Owner of Gaza's Jala tower pleaded with an Israeli intelligence officer for more time to collect press equipment moments before an Israeli air raid flattened the building. Jala Tower housed residential apartments and media offices including Al Jazeera & AP."
Media reports further reported that the Israeli army claimed they razed the building, because there were "military interests of the Hamas intelligence" present inside. We found no reports claiming that the the al Jalaa tower was bombed because the Al Jazeera spread fake news about Israel and the ongoing conflict.
BOOM has reached out to Al Jazeera for a comment and the story will be updated upon a response.
The violence between Israel and Palestine which reached a ceasefire on Thursday, escalated after Israel forcibly evicting Palestinians from the disputed area of Sheikh Jarrah. The situation further worsened with the Israeli forces raiding the al-Aqsa mosque on May 10 leading to clashes between the two groups. Hamas responded to the raids with missile strikes with Israel counter-attacking with missile strikes of their own. The ongoing bombing has reportedly led to about 150 deaths till date with the majority casualties being Palestinians.
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