After nine months of war in Gaza, another UN school hit by Israeli airstrikes

“One more day. One more month. One more hit on the school,” speak Philippe Lazzarini, head UNRWAthe largest aid agency in Gaza, in a post on X, formerly Twitter, after a school in Nuseirat, central Gaza, was “attacked by Israeli forces” on Saturday. It is home to nearly 2,000 people displaced by the fighting, UNRWA The commissioner added that dozens of casualties had been reported.

The development comes as talks on a ceasefire and the release of hostages are expected to continue in the coming days. Previous attempts to make progress have failed despite continued international pressure from influential member states on both sides.

The success of this week’s talks will depend on meeting Hamas’s call for a permanent end to the fighting and intense Israeli air strikes that have flattened large swaths of the enclave, as well as the Israeli government’s stated war goal of destroying Hamas’ military capabilities after the group attacked multiple targets in southern Israel on October 7, killing some 1,250 people and taking more than 250 hostages.

All eyes on the Lebanon-Israel border

So far, tens of thousands of Palestinians have been killed, according to Gaza health authorities, and the latest data from UNRWA shows that at least 520 people taking refuge in the UN agency’s shelters have been killed and at least 1,602 injured since the war began.

In a regular situation update, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, reported that as many as 1.9 million people in Gaza have been displaced by the war, including some displaced “nine or 10 times”. Previous estimates were 1.7 million but this was before Israel launched its operation in Rafah in early May, which led to further displacement from Rafah and other areas across the Gaza Strip.

The new effort to end the war comes amid daily fighting between Lebanese militants Israel and Hamas’s key ally, Hezbollah, across the UN-monitored Green Line that separates them. On Sunday, the Lebanon-based group claimed responsibility for a reported drone attack on Mount Hermon in the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights. Hezbollah has said it will only cease operations once the war in Gaza ends.

“The gradual expansion in scope and scale of confrontations far beyond the Blue Line significantly increases the risk of miscalculation and further worsens an already alarming situation,” said the UN Interim Mission in Lebanon (United Nations) told UN News.

Citing the latest OCHA data, the UN force said nearly 97,000 people had been displaced from southern Lebanon by the ongoing fighting as of June 25; more than 1,800 casualties had been reported including 435 deaths, including 97 civilians. “A political and diplomatic solution is the only viable long-term solution,” the force stressed.

Investigation is ongoing

Responding to the school strike and the Israeli military’s claim that it had been used by Palestinian armed groups, UNRWA chief Lazzarini said he took the allegations “very seriously. That is precisely why I have repeatedly called for independent investigations to establish the facts and identify those responsible for the attacks on UN premises or their misuse,” he said – referring to the UN office’s ongoing investigation into Israel’s assertions that 12 UNRWA staff were involved in Hamas-led attacks on 7 October.

Eight UNRWA staff members remain under investigation by United Nations Internal Oversight Office, OIOS; so far, it has suspended three other cases citing insufficient evidence from Israeli authorities and closed one case because Israel failed to provide any supporting evidence, it has reported.

“Nine months into this brutal war, I once again call for a ceasefire so that the people of Gaza and Israel can finally find rest and protection, and all hostages will be released immediately,” said Mr. Lazzarini.

“The longer this war lasts, the deeper the rift will be and the more people will suffer.”


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