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Monday, July 15, 2024

Israel bombs ‘Hamas compound’ in Gaza school

The IDF says it eliminated “several terrorists” amid reports of dozens of civilian casualties

Israel has confirmed that its air force struck a school in the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, claiming that the facility – where dozens of people were reportedly killed – was housing a Hamas militant compound.

At least 30 people were killed and dozens injured in the strike on the school operated by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) on Thursday morning, medical sources in the Hamas-run Palestinian enclave told Xinhua, while Reuters sources confirmed 27 fatalities.

Read more: Around 80 hostages still alive in Gaza – Israel

Hamas condemned the attack as a “terrible massacre,” calling it “clear evidence of the crime of genocide committed against civilians.”

While acknowledging the air raid, the Israeli military insisted that it targeted a Hamas compound and successfully eliminated “several terrorists” who were allegedly behind attacks on Israeli troops.

“A short while ago, IAF fighter jets, directed by IDF intelligence and the ISA, conducted a precise strike on a Hamas compound embedded inside an UNRWA school in the area of Nuseirat,” the Israeli military confirmed in a statement early on Thursday morning.

“The terrorists directed terror from the area of the school while exploiting it and using it as a shelter,” the IDF added, insisting that it conducted thorough aerial surveillance and gathered additional intelligence before the strike to “reduce the risk of harming uninvolved civilians.”

Read more: US votes to sanction ICC over Israel

Last month, at least 45 Palestinians were killed when Israeli jets bombed the southern Gazan city of Rafah, causing a large fire at a camp housing displaced people. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the strike “a tragic mistake,” and promised that it would be investigated.

The Gaza-based Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a series of raids into Israel on October 7 last year, dubbed ‘Al-Aqsa Flood.’ An estimated 1,200 Israelis were killed in the attacks, while another 250 were taken captive. Israel responded with a military offensive that has claimed the lives of over 36,000 Palestinians and devastated much of the enclave’s infrastructure.

The United Nations’ International Court of Justice (ICJ) recently ordered the Jewish state to “immediately halt its military offensive” as part of a ‘genocide’ complaint. Meanwhile the International Criminal Court (ICC) is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders, including Netanyahu and his defense minister, Yoav Gallant, over alleged war crimes against Palestinian civilians in Gaza.