US asks Israel for 'justification' for strike on media building

Israel has responsibility to protect civilians and that most certainly includes journalists, says Blinken

AGENCIES May 17, 2021

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday the US had requested "details" and a "justification" from Israel for an air strike on a Gaza building housing international media outlets.

Blinken added that he had not personally seen any information shared by Israeli authorities, and therefore did not want to comment on the legitimacy of the strike.

"Israel has a special responsibility to protect civilians in the course of its self-defence, and that most certainly includes journalists," Blinken told a Copenhagen press conference.

The fighting entered a second week on Monday as Israel bombed targets in Gaza and Palestinian fighters fired rocket barrages at Israeli cities.

Read more: Israeli air strikes continue as Gaza death toll nears 200

Gaza health officials put the Palestinian death toll since the hostilities flared at 198, including 58 children and 34 women. Ten people have been killed in Israel, including two children, Israeli authorities say.

Blinken urged all parties in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians to protect civilians and said the United States is working intensively to an end to the violence.

"We have been working around the clock through diplomatic channels to try to bring an end to the conflict," he said.

"The United States remains greatly concerned by the escalating violence. Hundreds of people killed or injured, including children being pulled from the rubble," he said.

"We are ready to lend support if the parties (...) seek a ceasefire," Blinken said.