One of the schools run in Gaza by the United Nations Office for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) was hit in one of the strikes. The report was initially released by the Gaza Strip Ministry of Health, run by the Palestinian radical group Hamas, but was later confirmed to Reuters directly by UNRWA.
“At least one strike hit the school grounds where there are tents for displaced families. Another strike hit the school building where the women were baking bread,” said UNRWA’s head of communications, Juliette Toum. The school is located in the Jabaliya refugee camp, where thousands of people live.
Later, Toumová tentatively estimated the number of victims at 20 for the BBC, including children. She could not say who was behind the explosions. Hamas-led authorities earlier reported 15 dead and 70 wounded, and blamed Israel. For the fourth week now, the Jewish state has been conducting a retaliatory operation in the Gaza Strip for the terrorist attacks by Hamas on October 7.
The Israeli army (IDF) is investigating the circumstances. Her spokesman Peter Lerner confirmed to the British station that there was fighting in the area, but he does not yet know the details. “It is precisely for this reason that we have been asking people to move to the south (of the Gaza Strip) for three weeks now,” the spokesman added. Up to 400,000 people remain in the northern part of the area where the Israeli ground operation is underway, according to Saturday’s US estimate.
According to an IDF spokesman, Hamas terrorists do not respect UN symbols and do not consider the impact on civilians. Toumová has no idea if Hamas had bases near the school.
Israel attacked an ambulance allegedly carrying members of Hamas
Israel has previously claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack on an ambulance near the entrance to Al Shifa Hospital, the largest medical facility in the Gaza Strip. The attack killed 15 people and wounded another 50, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.
The BBC managed to verify the authenticity of several images from the scene, which show a number of bloodied bodies lying outside the hospital. According to the CNN server, at least a dozen victims can be seen on them, eyewitnesses report similar numbers.
Are Israel and Hamas following the rules of war?
Images from Israeli kibbutzim invaded by Palestinian terrorists, as well as images of devastation in the Gaza Strip, which was attacked by the Israeli army in retaliation, reopen the debate about the rules of armed conflict and the necessity of observing them.
What are the rules of war and do Israel and Hamas follow them? We have prepared a list of questions and answers.
The Israeli military says it targeted the ambulance because it was used by the radical Hamas movement. “IDF aircraft (abbreviation for the Israeli army, note ed.) hit an ambulance that was identified as being used by a Hamas terrorist cell in close proximity to its positions in the combat zone,” the IDF said in a statement.
“Several Hamas terrorists were killed in the attack… We have information that proves that Hamas’s method is to transport terrorists and weapons in ambulances,” the statement added. Reuters cautioned that these claims could not be immediately verified.
The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry counters that the ambulance that was hit was part of a convoy preparing to transport the seriously wounded from Al-Shifa Hospital to the Rafah border crossing, which is the only way out of the besieged enclave for many Gazans.
According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, the convoy that set off with the wounded from Al-Shifa Hospital to Rafah had to turn around after about four kilometers because the road was covered with rubble.
In a post on the social network, X said that the convoy was hit twice on the way, the first time when it was about a kilometer from the hospital and the second time when it was standing in front of its gate, where it had arrived to unload patients. According to him, 15 civilians died on the spot.
The Red Cross condemned the attack
The Palestinian Red Crescent added that one of its ambulances was part of the convoy, but assured that none of its personnel were injured during the attack.
According to Gaza ministry spokesman Ashraf Kudra, authorities in the Gaza Strip informed the International Red Cross about the convoy’s move forward. He confirmed to CNN that he was asked to accompany the convoy during the transfer of wounded patients, but he did not participate in the event.
“Although we were not present, this is still a medical convoy and any violence against medical personnel is unacceptable,” the International Red Cross said. “No doctor, nurse or other health worker should die while working to save lives,” he added.
News from the battlefield
On the battlefield in the Gaza Strip, the first major advance took place in recent hours – the Israeli army reached the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and south of the city of Gaza. Apparently, Hamas is concentrating its forces in it.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said he was appalled by the attack on the ambulance convoy near the hospital. “The footage of bodies strewn on the street in front of the hospital is appalling,” he said, calling again for an end to the fighting in the Gaza Strip.
The head of the World Health Organization also expressed “absolute shock” at the attack near the hospital. “We repeat: Patients, healthcare workers, equipment and ambulances must be protected at all times. Always,” wrote Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on the X social network.
Israel, which has accused Hamas of harboring Hamas command centers and tunnel entrances at Al-Shifa Hospital, last month called on all civilians to leave northern Gaza. Hamas and the hospital management denied that the facility served as a base for fighters, the ČTK agency recalls.