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Former IDF general: May bombing of Gaza media building was an ‘own goal’

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

The building housing the offices of The Associated Press and other media in Gaza City collapses after it was hit by an Israeli airstrike, May 15, 2021. (Hatem Moussa/ AP)
The building housing the offices of The Associated Press and other media in Gaza City collapses after it was hit by an Israeli airstrike, May 15, 2021. (Hatem Moussa/ AP)

A former Israeli general says the military’s bombing of a tower in Gaza Strip during May’s conflict that housed The Associated Press amounted to an “own goal,” causing more damage to Israel’s image than it provided operational benefit.

“Bringing down the tower with the AP offices was equivalent to a ‘public relations terror attack’ and an own-goal. The operational benefit was not worth the damage that it caused diplomatically and in terms of perception,” Maj. Gen. (res.) Nitzan Alon says.

Alon, who led the military’s investigation into the public relations-related issues connected to May’s conflict, known in Israel as Operation Guardian of the Walls, makes his comments at a conference hosted by Tel Aviv’s Institute for National Security Studies.

He is referring to a strike on the 12-story Al-Jalaa tower in Gaza City during the conflict, which sparked immediate criticism from around the world, including from American lawmakers who have long been staunch advocates for Israel. Israel claimed the tower was used by Hamas and was used by the group to set up equipment to block GPS signals in a goal of interfering with the military’s Iron Dome missile defense system, which Israel was using to intercept the rockets, mortar shells and drones being launched from Gaza during the conflict.

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