Friday, July 19, 2024

A U.N. official stated on Saturday that two schools run by his agency in northern Gaza were attacked within a 24-hour period. Video footage from the scene, verified by The New York Times, showed numerous bloodied and motionless bodies at one of the schools.

Palestinian officials reported that many individuals were killed and injured in an Israeli attack on a U.N.-run school being used as a shelter by adults and children in the Jabaliya area north of Gaza City. The Israeli military acknowledged receiving reports of an incident in the Jabaliya area, stating that it was under review.

A graphic video, corroborated to be from the Al-Fakhura school run by UNRWA, showed bodies amidst widespread debris.

The head of the agency, Philippe Lazzarini, shared on social media that he had received “horrifying images & footage of scores of people killed and injured” at the UNRWA school sheltering thousands of displaced individuals in the north of the Gaza Strip.

Mr. Lazzarini later added that another UNRWA school housing more than 4,000 people had been bombarded multiple times in the north of Gaza. He stressed the urgency for these horrors to stop.

An UNRWA spokeswoman indicated that the latter post referred to the Zeitoun school in Gaza City, which was struck around 3 p.m. on Friday.

UNRWA did not have the final toll at either school on Saturday and had not been able to directly monitor conditions at its northern Gaza facilities since an Israeli evacuation order for the north on Oct. 12. At that time, nearly 160,000 displaced individuals were taking shelter in 57 of its schools. Classes have been suspended and schools converted into shelters throughout Gaza since the start of the Israeli offensive.

The Israeli military stated that its intense bombardment was aimed at Hamas, claiming that its command posts and depots are deeply enmeshed within Gaza’s neighborhoods. Israeli officials have called sites like apartment buildings, mosques, and markets legitimate targets, while attempting to limit harm to civilians.

The Israeli military affirmed its commitment to international law, including taking feasible steps to minimize harm to civilians. It also reported engaging in intensive combat in Jabaliya, targeting the command and control center of Hamas’s northern Gaza brigade.

The White House was in contact with U.N. and Israeli officials to gather more information about the attack at a school shelter.

The civilian toll of Israel’s campaign in Gaza has drawn increasing criticism from U.N. officials and rising anger from Israel’s neighbors in the Middle East. The Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounced the destruction at the Al-Fakhura school, accusing Israel of a “flagrant violation of the principles of international law” and calling for a U.N. investigation into attacks on hospitals and schools in Gaza.

The Gazan Ministry of Health reported that the Al-Fakhura school had previously been struck by an Israeli airstrike in early November, resulting in 15 deaths and 70 injuries.

Aaron Boxerman, Neil Collier, Iyad Abuheweila Aric Toler and Lisa Friedman contributed reporting.

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