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Friday, July 19, 2024

Israeli strike on UN shelter in Gaza kills at least 27

An Israeli air strike on a UN school packed with hundreds of displaced people in central Gaza has killed at least 27 people, local officials say.

The Israeli military said it carried out a strike on a UN school that housed a “Hamas compound”.

Local journalists told the BBC that an Israeli warplane fired two missiles at classrooms on the top floor of the school in the Nuseirat refugee camp.

The Hamas media office has accused Israel of committing a “horrific massacre”.

Ambulances and rescue teams have been rushing the wounded and dead to a nearby hospital.

Footage on social media showed destroyed classrooms and bodies wrapped in shrouds at a morgue.

“Enough war! We have been displaced dozens of times. They killed our children while they were sleeping,” a woman injured in the attack screamed in one video.

Ismail al-Thawabta, director of the Hamas media office, rejected Israel’s claims that the UN school had hidden a Hamas command post.

“The occupation uses … false fabricated stories to justify the brutal crime it conducted against dozens of displaced people,” he told Reuters news agency.

In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said jets had conducted a “precise strike on a Hamas compound embedded inside an Unrwa school in the area of Nuseirat”.

It said it had killed Hamas and Islamic Jihad “terrorists” who took part in the 7 October attack on southern Israel, when around 1,200 people were killed and 251 others were taken hostage.

At least 36,580 people have been killed in Gaza since then, according to the territory’s Hamas-run health ministry.

The IDF said it had taken steps before the air strike to “reduce the risk of harming uninvolved civilians”.

Earlier, the Israeli military said it had taken “operational control” over eastern areas of Bureij refugee camp and the town of Deir al-Balah in central Gaza, as dozens of Palestinians were reported killed.

Residents reported intense bombardment and the charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said at least 70 bodies – the majority women and children – had been brought to a local hospital since Tuesday.

MSF said its medical team on the ground had described the situation at Deir al-Balah’s al-Aqsa hospital – one of the only remaining functional health facilities in central Gaza – as “apocalyptic”.

Map of damage in Gaza

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