News 9 june — 16:41

Israel says Gaza tower it destroyed was used by Hamas to try to jam Iron Dome

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Israel says a media building destroyed by one of its air strikes in the recent Gaza conflict was being used by the Hamas militant group to try to jam its Iron Dome missile defence system, BBC reports.

The Jala Tower housed the offices of Associated Press (AP) and Al Jazeera.

AP news agency said it had not seen evidence to support Israeli allegations that militants were operating there.

Hamas, which controls Gaza, denied it had offices in the building and called its destruction "a scheming war crime".

"The Israeli occupation's repeated lies about the presence of Hamas offices in Jala Tower is a failed attempt to justify its crime by targeting a civilian tower that houses media offices and international television channels," spokesman Hazem Qassem told the BBC.

The recent conflict began after weeks of spiralling Israeli-Palestinian tension in occupied East Jerusalem which culminated in clashes at a holy site revered by both Muslims and Jews.

Hamas began firing rockets into Israel after warning it to withdraw from the site, triggering retaliatory air strikes from Israel on Gaza targets.

At least 256 people were killed in Gaza, according to the UN, and 13 people were killed in Israel during 11 days of fierce fighting before a ceasefire was agreed on 21 May.

The UN said at least 128 of those killed in Gaza were civilians. Israel's military said 200 were militants; Hamas's leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, put the number of fighters killed at 80.

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