* Israeli strikes kill three journalists, hit media offices
* Gaza journalists and Hamas say Israel wants press muzzled
* Israel says it takes pains to avoid innocent deaths
By Noah Browning
GAZA, Nov 20 Two cameramen working for al-Aqsa
TV and an educational programming director for the al-Quds
channel, both affiliated with Gaza's Hamas government, were
killed by Israeli air strikes on their cars on Tuesday.
The cameramen were killed in their car not far from the main
Shifa hospital in Gaza city. The al-Quds programme director was
killed in his car in the central Gaza Strip.
Their deaths have sparked outrage among Gaza's press corps
and also from Hamas, which accused Israel of trying to suppress
coverage of Israeli attacks in the coastal enclave.
"The Israeli aggressors want to cut the picture and silence
the voice of the brave people of Gaza. Journalism in Gaza plays
a major, effective role in exposing the enemy's crimes to the
world," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told a news conference.
For its part, Israel says it takes pains only to strike
combatants and warns civilians away from its strikes, which have
killed over 125 Palestinians in six days of fighting, around
half of them civilians, including around 30 children.
"The terrorists use schools, mosques, the media and even
their own kids as human shields," Israel army spokesman Arye
Shalicar told Reuters.
"Every time we target a site, and we have hit more than 1400
targets, we try to have nearly 100 percent certainty about where
and what the target is, so that we only strike the terrorists,"
Four Israelis have been killed by hundreds of rocket salvos
fired into Israel by Gaza-based militants.
A tower block housing many of Gaza's local and international
media offices has twice been bombed by Israeli planes in recent
days, in attacks Israel said targeted the communications
infrastructure and personnel of militant groups.
Travelling down a laser-straight path toward the building on
Monday, three Israeli missiles burst into earth-shaking
fireballs, killing a cyber warfare operative from the militant
Islamic Jihad group and wounding six others.
Tenants of the building, which include Britain's Sky News
and Saudi-owned Al Arabiya, said they did not realise militants
also occupied the non-descript office targeted.
The building's roof was bombed on Sunday, in a strike Israel
said targeted military communications infrastructure. A similar
attack on the same morning attacked another building, also
crowded with media offices, housing Hamas-affiliated al-Quds TV.
It wounded eight journalists.
International media watchdogs have criticised Israel.
"Israel should respect its obligations under international
law and immediately halt its attacks against news media
offices," Sherif Mansour of the Committee to Protect Journalists
said in a statement on Monday.
"Authorities know these buildings are home to numerous news
organisations whose employees are civilians protected by
international law," he said.
(Reporting By Noah Browning; Editing by Douglas Hamilton and