July 13, 2024

Israeli airstrike kills at least 25 people at school complex near Khan Younis


An Israeli airstrike has killed at least 25 people and injured dozens more at a school complex housing displaced people near Khan Younis, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza..

The ministry said in a statement that Israel targeted “the gate of a school housing displaced people in the town of Abasan, east of the city of Khan Younis,” calling it “a heinous massacre against displaced citizens.”

This is the fourth attack on or near to schools sheltering displaced people in the past four days.

A further 53 people were injured, including some who have “serious and critical cases,” the ministry added. The death toll is expected to increase as casualties are still being transferred to Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, the ministry said.

The Israeli military said it conducted a strike “near” Al-Awda school on Tuesday, targeting “a terrorist” who took part in the October 7 attacks.

“Earlier this evening, using precise munition, the IAF struck a terrorist from Hamas’ military wing who took part, among other terrorist activities, in the October 7 brutal massacre carried out by the Hamas terrorist organization in southern Israel,” the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement.

“The IDF is looking into the reports that civilians were harmed, adjacent to the Al-Awda School in the south of Khan Younis, which is located near the location of the strike. The incident is under review,” the IDF added.

The Government Media Office in Gaza condemned the attack, calling it a “massacre against civilians” by Israel. The government statement also called on the international communities, the United Nations, and international NGOs to put pressure on Israel and the United States to stop the war in Gaza.

Hamas also condemned it in a statement, saying the strike on the school represents “a continuation of the genocidal war and horrific massacres against our defenseless people.”

Hamas called for people around the world to “immediately take to the streets and squares in massive demonstrations and rallies” in support of people in Gaza, as well as called for people in the West Bank to support Gaza and clash with Israeli forces.

This comes days after an Israeli attack killed at least 16 Palestinians and injured dozens more at a school run by the United Nations’ agency for Palestinian refugees in central Gaza, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said on Saturday. UNRWA’s Al-Jaouni school was sheltering displaced people in al-Nuseirat camp, according to the ministry.

The Israeli military said in a statement Saturday that militants were operating in structures in the school area. We cannot independently verify the Israeli military’s claim.

On July 1, the IDF issued instructions for hundreds of thousands of people in Khan Younis in the south, Shujaya in central Gaza and the several neighborhoods of Gaza City to leave.

The effect has been to increase the total number of displaced people in Gaza, from 1.7 million in May to an estimated 1.9 million now, according to the UN. Approximately nine out of 10 people in Gaza are now estimated to be internally displaced, many of them multiple times.

The IDF has said that evacuation orders are necessary so that civilians don’t get caught up in its renewed operations in areas where Hamas is seeking to re-establish a presence. The IDF insists it goes to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties.

Hamas has said the evacuations threaten to return negotiations for a ceasefire and hostage deal to “point zero.”

Humanitarian agencies say the evacuation orders have had a major impact on the few operational hospitals in Gaza. Besides the obvious dangers in moving from one part of Gaza to another, the constant displacements make it harder for aid agencies to target the provision of food.

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