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Ankara condemns Israeli Gaza bombing of Turkish news agency offices

1 min 3Approximate reading time

Ankara on Saturday strongly condemned Israel for the bombing of a building housing the Turkish state news agency Anadolu in Gaza.

"We condemn Israel in the strongest possible terms for targeting a building in Gaza, in which the @anadoluagency office was located," Fahrettin Altun, the Turkish presidency's chief communications director, said on Twitter.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu added: "Targeting of @AnadoluAgency #Gaza office is new example of Israel's unrestrained aggression.

"Israeli violence against innocent people w/out distinction is a crime against humanity. Those who encourage Israel are also guilty. Will keep defending #Palestinian cause, even if alone," he said.

Anadolu reported that the building collapsed after being hit.

Staff had been evacuated shortly before the strike which was preceded by a warning shot, the agency said, adding that none of its journalists had been hurt.

Gaza militants on Saturday fired some 200 rockets at Israel, which responded with strikes that killed four Palestinians including a baby and her pregnant mother, according to officials, as a fragile ceasefire faltered and a further escalation was feared.

The latest flare-up came with Hamas, the Islamist movement that rules the blockaded Gaza Strip, seeking further concessions from Israel under the ceasefire.

The destruction of the Anadolu offices risks a new surge of tension between Turkey and Israel.

Turkey has repeatedly criticised Israeli policies even though the two countries in 2016 ended a six-year rift triggered by the Israeli storming of a Gaza-bound ship that left 10 Turkish activists dead.

Erdogan, an ardent defender of the Palestinian cause, and Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu frequently exchange barbs, notably during election campaigns.

Last month, Erdogan called the Israeli leader a "tyrant" after Netanyahu called him a "dictator" and a "joke".

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