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Turkey slams Israel over Gaza strike

May 4, 2019

Israeli strikes on a Hamas-occupied building in Gaza also hit the offices of Turkey's state news agency. Turkish President Erdogan has fiercely denounced the attack, which could stoke tensions between Israel and Turkey.

Part of a large building in Gaza is engulfed by a ball of fire after being hit by Israeli warplanes
Israel's retaliatory airstrikes against Gaza militants killed at least six PalestiniansImage: picture-alliance/A. Amra

An Israeli airstrike hit a building containing the Gaza office of of Turkey's state-run news agency Anadolu, Turkey's foreign minister said Saturday, calling it a "new example of Israel's unrestrained aggression."

Israeli warplanes carried out dozens of retaliatory airstrikes across the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip in response to a barrage of rockets fired from Palestinian militants as hostilities flared into a second day.

Israel said that the six-floor commercial and residential building included Hamas military intelligence and security offices.

Turkey's state-run media reported that the building was hit by at least five Israeli rockets after warning shots were fired. No deaths or injuries were reported.

Read more: Gaza violence escalates after militants launch rocket attacks

Turkey's condemnation

Turkish officials condemned the attack, which is likely to strain already tense relations with Israel. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was highly critical of the bombing.

"We strongly condemn Israel's attack against Anadolu Agency's office in Gaza," Erdogan wrote on Twitter.

Last month, Erdogan called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a "tyrant" after Netanyahu referred to him as a "dictator" and a "joke."

Turkey's presidential aide Ibrahim Kalin accused Israel of striking Anadolu Agency to "cover up its new crimes."

There was no immediate comment from Israel.

"Targeting of Anadolu Agency Gaza office is new example of Israel's unrestrained aggression," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu wrote on Twitter. "Israeli violence against innocent people without distinction is a crime against humanity. Those who encourage Israel are also guilty."

"We will keep defending the Palestinian cause, even if alone," he added. 

In a separate statement, Turkey's Foreign Ministry called on the international community "to act swiftly in order to ease tensions that have increased due to Israel's disproportionate actions in the region."

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Benjamin Netanyahu
Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Benjamin Netanyahu Image: Getty Images/AFP

Gaza violence

An early morning rocket attack from Gaza on Sunday killed an Israeli man in the coastal city of Ashkelon, Israeli medical officials said on Sunday.

On Saturday, three Palestinians, including a pregnant mother and her 1-year-old baby, were killed in an Israeli attack, while three Israelis were injured by rocket fire. Israel disputed the claim, saying it was targeting only military-related sites.

Gaza militants have fired over 400 rockets at Israel since Friday, breaking a monthlong truce.

Hamas, which controls Gaza, and its ally Islamic Jihad, have vowed to continue their rocket attacks on Israel.

shs,cw/jm (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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