IDF: Terrorists Hidden inside the UN School were Killed in Strike, Local Officials clain that 23 Women and Kids Died

June 6, 2024 by No Comments

Thursday morning, an Israeli military strike took out Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants hiding at a United Nations school for displaced Palestinians in central Gaza, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said, while local officials said the strike killed over 30, including 23 women and children.

It said the strike specifically targeted a Hamas complex within the school, which contained 20 to 30 fighters, and that several of them were killed.

Witnesses and hospital officials said the pre-dawn strike hit the al-Sardi School, run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The school was filled with Palestinians who sought refuge from Israeli offensives and airstrikes in northern Gaza, they said.

“Eliminated: several Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists who embedded themselves inside of an @UNRWA school,” the IDF said in a Twitter post.

“IAF fighter jets conducted a precise strike on a Hamas compound embedded inside the school in the area of Nuseirat. belonged to the Nukhba Forces and participated in the Oct. 7 massacre.” 

That attack killed around 1,200 Israelis while 240 people were taken captive, sparking Israel’s current offensive against Hamas and its partners. 

The IDF stressed that it took a series of precautionary measures before Thursday’s strike to minimize the risk of harming uninvolved civilians, “including aerial surveillance and additional intelligence information.”

The tweet was accompanied by an aerial photograph pinpointing rooms on two upper floors of the building, which the IDF said were the “locations of the terrorists.”

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

He said 20 to 30 fighters were situated in the complex and many of them had been killed, but did not have exact details as intelligence assessments were still underway. “I’m not aware of any civilian casualties, and I’d be very, very cautious of accepting anything that Hamas puts out,” he said.

Ayman Rashed, a man displaced from Gaza City who was sheltering at the school, said the missiles hit classrooms on the second and third floors where families were seeking refuge. He claimed to have helped carry out five bodies, including an old man and two children, one with a shattered head. “It was dark, with no electricity, and we worked hard to extract the victims,” Rashed explained.

Footage displayed bodies covered in blankets or plastic bags lined up in the courtyard of the hospital.

Casualties from the school strike arrived at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in nearby Deir al-Balah. 

The Associated Press reported that hospital records and their reporter at the hospital recorded at least 33 deaths from the strike, including 14 children and nine women. 

Juliette Touma, a spokesperson for the UNRWA told Reuters that the building may have been hit multiple times. Touma and a medical source told the news outlet that 40 people had been killed, including 14 children and nine women.

Another strike on a house overnight killed six people, according to reports. Both strikes occurred in Nuseirat.

UNRWA schools across Gaza have served as shelters since the start of the war, displacing the majority of the territory’s population of 2.3 million Palestinians from their homes.

Israel announced a new military campaign in central Gaza on Wednesday as it confronts fighters using hit-and-run guerrilla tactics. It said there will not be a halt to fighting during ceasefire talks, which have intensified since President Biden outlined a proposal on Friday.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Wednesday that the Jewish state is “prepared for very intense action in the north” in response to the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah’s ongoing rocket and drone attacks into northern Israel.

’ Benjamin Weinthal as well as The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.