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Watch: Israel defends strike on media building, says they're 'committed' to journalists' freedom

Israel insisted it's doing everything possible to avoid civilian casualties and "collateral damage" in Gaza, after it destroyed a high-rise building housing a number of international media organisations including The Associated Press.

The Israelis gave advance warning and everyone inside the building was evacuated beforehand.

Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said the building was being used by Hamas as a military intelligence base, and defended the country's right to strike at militant targets in Gaza.  

He accused Hamas of siting military assets, including rocket launchers, in the courtyards of people's homes.

"It is almost impossible to surgically differentiate between terrorists and their infrastructure and civilians, which are used by the terrorists as their human shields," he said.

"It is very challenging for us to strike only military targets. But I can tell you that we are doing our maximal effort to strike only military targets," he asserted.

Conricus said Hamas had fired more than 300 rockets at Israel on Saturday, and insisted his country would continue to defend its civilians and "continue to degrade enemy capabilities".

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