June 16, 2024

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An Israeli raid on a school in Gaza that the army claims is being used by Hamas kills 30 people

An Israeli raid on a school in Gaza that the army claims is being used by Hamas kills 30 people

DEIR EL BALAH (Gaza Strip) – An Israeli raid early Thursday on a school housing displaced Palestinians in central Gaza killed more than 30 people, including 23 women and children, according to local health officials. The Israeli army said that Hamas activists were operating from inside the school.

The strike came after the army announced a new ground and air attack on several refugee camps in central Gaza to pursue Hamas activists who it says have regrouped there. This is the latest example of troops returning to parts of the Gaza Strip they previously invaded, highlighting the militant group’s resilience despite Israeli interventions. Nearly eight months after the attack In the region.

Witnesses and hospital officials said the pre-dawn raid hit the Sardi School, which is run by the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, known as UNRWA. They added that the school was full of Palestinians who fled the Israeli attacks and bombing of northern Gaza.

Ayman Rashid, a displaced man from Gaza City who was taking shelter at the school, said the missiles hit classrooms on the second and third floors where families were taking shelter. He said he helped carry out five deaths, including an old man and two children, one of whom had his head smashed. Rashid said: “It was completely dark, the electricity was cut off, and we were struggling to get the victims out.”

Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the nearby town of Deir al-Balah received at least 33 people killed in the raid, including 14 children and nine women, according to hospital records and an Associated Press reporter at the hospital. Another attack on a house during the night killed six people, according to records. Both raids took place in Nuseirat, one of several refugee camps built in Gaza dating back to 2008. The 1948 war surrounding the establishment of Israelwhen hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes in what became the new state.

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Muhammad al-Karim, a displaced Palestinian who lives near the hospital, described scenes of chaos outside the hospital. He added that vehicles arrived one after another, while the afflicted people were transporting the wounded to the emergency department. Videos circulating on the Internet showed several wounded people receiving treatment on the hospital floor, a common sight in crowded medical wards in Gaza.

Video footage showed bodies wrapped in blankets or plastic bags lying in lines in the hospital courtyard, which was largely dark as staff tried to conserve limited fuel to generate electricity. Al-Karim said that he saw people searching for their loved ones among the bodies, and that a woman kept asking medical workers to open the covers of the bodies to see if her son was inside.

He added: “The situation is tragic.”

The Israeli military said that Hamas had planted a “compound” inside the school and that Hamas and Islamic Jihad activists inside were using it as a shelter where they were planning attacks against Israeli forces, although it did not immediately provide evidence. She posted a photo of the school, pointing to the classrooms on the second and third floors where she claimed the gunmen were located.

It said it had taken steps before the raid “to minimize the risk of harm to uninvolved civilians… including conducting aerial surveillance and obtaining additional intelligence.”

UNRWA schools across Gaza have served as shelters since the beginning of the war, which expelled most of the Strip’s 2.3 million Palestinians from their homes.

Israel launched its crackdown on Gaza after a Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, during which militants killed about 1,200 people and took 250 others hostage. The Israeli attack led to the killing of at least 36,000 Palestinians, according to estimates Ministry of Health in GazaWhich does not differentiate between combatants and civilians in its numbers.

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Israel blames the deaths of civilians on Hamas because it deploys fighters, tunnels and rocket launchers in residential areas.

The United States has thrown its weight behind it A phased ceasefire and the release of hostages Which was set by President Joe Biden last week. But Israel says it will not end the war without destroying Hamas, while the armed group demands a permanent ceasefire and a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces.

The army said on Wednesday that forces were operating “above and underground” in the eastern parts of Deir al-Balah and the Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza. She added that the operation began with air strikes on militant infrastructure, after which the forces began a “targeted operation in broad daylight” in the two areas.

Doctors Without Borders said that at least 70 bodies and 300 wounded, most of them women and children, were transferred to a hospital in central Gaza on Tuesday and Wednesday after a wave of Israeli strikes.

The international charity said Wednesday in a post on the X website that Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital was struggling to treat “a large influx of patients, many of whom are arriving with severe burns, shrapnel wounds, fractures and other injuries.”

Gaza The health system has almost collapsed During nearly eight months of war. The hospital, which was treating about 700 wounded and sick people before the latest strikes, said on Wednesday that one of its two electric generators had stopped working, threatening its ability to continue operating ventilators and incubators for premature babies.

Israel has routinely launched air strikes throughout Gaza since the beginning of the war, and has carried out large-scale ground operations in the Strip’s two largest cities, Gaza City and Khan Yunis, destroying much of it.

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The army launched an offensive earlier this year for several weeks in Bureij and several other nearby refugee camps in central Gaza.

Troops withdrew from Jabalia camp in northern Gaza last Friday after weeks of fighting that caused widespread destruction. First responders recovered the bodies of 360 people, most of them women and children, killed during the fighting.

Israel sent forces to Rafah in May in what it said was a limited incursion, but those forces are now operating in the central parts of the southernmost city of Gaza. More than a million people have fled Rafah since the start of the operation, many of them heading towards central Gaza.

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Magdy reported from Cairo.

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Follow AP’s coverage on https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war