Dozens reported killed in strike on Gaza school that Israel says targeted Hamas

Israel strikes an UNRWA affiliated school in Nusairat Refugee Camp, killing 27 civilians. Israel claims that their forces were targeting Hamas.

Publication: 06.06.2024 - 14:29
Dozens reported killed in strike on Gaza school that Israel says targeted Hamas
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Israel hit a Gaza school on Thursday in an airstrike that it said targeted and killed Hamas fighters inside, while a Hamas official said 40 people including women and children were killed as they sheltered in the U.N. site.

The strike took place at a sensitive moment in mediated negotiations on a ceasefire agreement entailing the release of hostages seized by Hamas on Oct. 7 and some of the Palestinians held in Israeli jails. Hamas seeks a permanent end to the war. Israel says it must destroy the Islamist group first.

The United States issued a joint statement with other countries on Thursday calling on Israel and Hamas to make whatever compromises were necessary to finalise a deal as the two sides gave contradictory accounts of the school attack.
Ismail Al-Thawabta, the director of the Hamas-run government media office, rejected Israel's assertion that the U.N. school in Nuseirat, in central Gaza, had hidden a Hamas command post.

"The occupation uses ... false fabricated stories to justify the brutal crime it conducted against dozens of displaced people," Thawabta told the press.

Israel's military said its fighter jets had carried out a "precise strike" and circulated satellite photos highlighting two parts of a building where it said the fighters were based.

"We're very confident in the intelligence," military spokesperson Lt Col. Peter Lerner told a briefing with reporters, accusing Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters of deliberately using U.N. facilities as operational bases.

He said 20-30 fighters were located in the compound, and many of them had been killed, but had no precise details as intelligence assessments were being carried out. "I'm not aware of any civilian casualties and I'd be very, very cautious of accepting anything that Hamas puts out," he said.

The school, run by the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA), may have been hit several times, said the agency's communications director, Juliette Touma.

She said she could not confirm the death toll at this stage. Media in Hamas-run Gaza had earlier put the toll at 35-40. Thawabta and a medical source said 40 had been killed, including 14 children and nine women.