* Two city-centre media buildings hit in air strikes
* Eight wounded; Israel says Hamas using human shields
By Maayan Lubell and Nidal al-Mughrabi
GAZA/JERUSALEM, Nov 18 Israeli aircraft hit two
Gaza media buildings on Sunday, wounding eight journalists and
drawing concern from press covering the fighting between
Palestinian militants and the Jewish state.
The Israeli military said the attacks were pinpoint strikes
on Hamas communication devices located on the buildings' roofs,
and accused the Islamist group of using reporters as human
shields to try and protect their operations.
Britain's Sky News, German ARD, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya,
Beirut-based al Quds television and other broadcasters operate
from the two buildings, which are a block apart. One employee
from al Quds TV lost his leg in the early morning strike.
The attack came on the fifth day of heavy air strikes on the
coastal enclave which Israel says are needed to halt repeated
militant rocket launches into its territory.
The Foreign Press Association covering Israel and the
Palestinian Territories issued a statement in which it expressed
concern over the bombings and quoted a U.N. Security Council
resolution that condemned attacks against journalists.
Israeli military spokeswoman Avital Leibovich denied that
journalists were the target of the strike.
"Hamas took a civilian building and used it for its own
needs. So the journalists ... were serving as human shields for
Hamas," she said.
The military added that in order to avoid worse casualties,
it had refrained from firing at an Hamas operations room which
it said was located inside one of the buildings.
Abdel-Ghani Jaber, director of a private Palestinian media
production company, said two of his employees were wounded when
the blast shattered the windows of his office.
"I was asleep when it happened ... I jumped from the
mattress because it sounded so near," Jaber said, "I wanted to
look out the window when someone told me the building was being
bombed and I started to run. As I ran a second missile hit just
above our floor and damaged a room in my office."
In the West Bank city of Ramallah, journalists held a
protest against Sunday's strikes. Palestinian government
spokeswoman Nour Odeh said the attacks were "a clear message
against the freedom of journalism and opinions".
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights condemned the raid
and said that: "Israeli forces jammed the broadcasts of a number
of local radio stations."
An Israeli military spokesman said the army had cut into a
Hamas radio frequency on Sunday and used it to broadcast
warnings to residents to get away from Hamas properties and
avoid becoming casualties.
In a 2008-2009 war against Hamas, Israel attacked one of the
same buildings that was blasted on Sunday, again accusing
Islamist militant of operating out of the tower block.
(Writing by Maayan Lubell; editing by Crispian Balmer)