Senior Israeli General Admits Mistake of Destroying Al-Jalaa Tower in Gaza

Israel bombed al-Jalaa Tower in central Gaza in May 2021. (AP)
Israel bombed al-Jalaa Tower in central Gaza in May 2021. (AP)
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Senior Israeli General Admits Mistake of Destroying Al-Jalaa Tower in Gaza

Israel bombed al-Jalaa Tower in central Gaza in May 2021. (AP)
Israel bombed al-Jalaa Tower in central Gaza in May 2021. (AP)

A senior general in the Israeli reserve army admitted that the operation to destroy al-Jalaa Tower in the Gaza Strip was a grave mistake, causing Israel more harm than good.

“Bringing down the tower with world news media offices was equivalent to a self-inflicted public relations terror attack,” said Maj. Gen. (res.) Nitzan Alon, the former head of the Israeli army operations.

Alon, who led the military’s probe into the public relations-related issues linked to the recent conflict, was referring to Israel’s military operation in Gaza in May, dubbed “Guardian of the Walls,” during which the building was bombed.

“The operational benefit was not worth the damage that it caused diplomatically and in terms of perception,” he said.

Alon made his comments at a conference hosted by Tel Aviv’s Institute for National Security Studies about the importance of public perception during military conflicts.

Israel destroyed the 12-storey tower block in Gaza housing the offices of the US-based Associated Press and other news media on May 15, saying the building was also used by the Hamas group.

It claimed the building housed Hamas military intelligence, saying its personnel there were “developing an electronic jamming system to be used against the Iron Dome defense system.”

The Israeli military 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.”



Israeli Forces Pull Back after Gaza City Offensive, Leaving Dozens of Bodies

Palestinians gather as they inspect the damages after Israeli forces withdrew from a part of Gaza City, following a ground operation, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in Gaza City, July 12, 2024. REUTERS/Dawoud Abu Alkas
Palestinians gather as they inspect the damages after Israeli forces withdrew from a part of Gaza City, following a ground operation, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in Gaza City, July 12, 2024. REUTERS/Dawoud Abu Alkas
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Israeli Forces Pull Back after Gaza City Offensive, Leaving Dozens of Bodies

Palestinians gather as they inspect the damages after Israeli forces withdrew from a part of Gaza City, following a ground operation, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in Gaza City, July 12, 2024. REUTERS/Dawoud Abu Alkas
Palestinians gather as they inspect the damages after Israeli forces withdrew from a part of Gaza City, following a ground operation, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in Gaza City, July 12, 2024. REUTERS/Dawoud Abu Alkas

Israeli forces retreated from some Gaza City districts overnight after a fierce, week-long military offensive, leaving dozens of dead and wrecked homes and roads in the Palestinian enclave's biggest urban area, residents and rescue service said on Friday.

The offensive, 10 months into Israel's campaign to eliminate Hamas militants, took place as US-backed mediators sought to finalize a peace deal that would free remaining hostages taken by the militants in their cross-border rampage on Oct. 7.

According to Reuters, the Gaza Civil Emergency Service said teams had collected around 60 bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces over the past week from the area of Tel Al-Hawa and the edges of the Sabra neighborhood in Gaza City.

Both residents and rescue teams cautioned that while tanks withdrew from some areas, Israeli snipers and tanks continued to control high ground at some locations, and warned residents against trying to return to their homes in those areas.

"There are bodies scattered in the streets, dismembered bodies, there are bodies of entire families, there are also bodies inside a home of an entire family that was completely burned," Gaza Strip Civil Defense spokesperson Mahmoud Basal said in comments carried by media in Hamas-run Gaza.

The Israeli military had said on Thursday that its forces were working to dismantle Hamas capabilities in Gaza City, and that it "follows international law and takes feasible precautions to mitigate civilian harm." It said the same was not true of Hamas.

The armed wings of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad said they had fought fierce battles against Israeli forces, attacking them with anti-tank rockets and mortar fire, killing and wounding many. There has been no Israeli army comment on those claims.

Home to more than a quarter of Gaza's residents before the war, Gaza City was largely razed to the ground in late 2023, but hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have returned to homes in the ruins. Israel has once again ordered them out, though it is unclear where residents can go safely. Israel controls most of Gaza's borders and is also attacking central and southern Gaza.