Israeli airstrike near Gaza school kills 30

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An Israeli air strike near a school in the southern Gaza Strip has killed about 30 people, mostly civilians taking shelter at the facility, according to authorities in the Hamas-controlled enclave. Dozens more were injured.

The Israeli military confirmed it had targeted a Hamas militant it said was “near” al-Awda school, east of Khan Younis, late on Tuesday and said it was “looking into reports of civilian injuries”.

“The incident is under review,” the Israeli military added, stressing that the target of the strike was a Hamas agent who had taken part in the group’s cross-border attack on October 7 from Gaza. ignite warnow entering its 10th month.

Video footage filmed by Palestinians at the scene shows a soccer game in the schoolyard interrupted by a loud explosion, and witnesses rushing to the gate to see dead bodies and wounded people lying on the ground.

The airstrike came as Israeli forces continued ground operations in other parts of the territory, including a new offensive in several neighborhoods of Gaza City and the Shejaiya district in the northern part of the coastal enclave, as well as the southern city of Rafah bordering Egypt.

On Wednesday, the Israeli military urged all remaining Palestinians in Gaza City, believed to number in the tens of thousands, to evacuate south to central areas of the strip. The enclave’s capital bore the brunt of Israel’s initial offensive late last year, with much of the city reduced to rubble.

“Gaza City will remain a dangerous war zone,” Avichay Adraee, an Israeli military spokesman, warned residents.

Earlier in the day, the Israeli military said Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants had used the Gaza City headquarters of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, as a base to attack its troops. After securing the evacuation of civilians, a “targeted raid” was carried out on the facility, the military added.

UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini said all sides — the Israeli armed forces, Hamas and other Palestinian groups — have used UNRWA facilities in the war. He said two-thirds of UNRWA schools in Gaza have been targeted and damaged since the start of the war.

“Four schools were attacked in the last four days… Schools have left safe places of education [and] hope children will be taken to overcrowded shelters and often end up dead [and] “It’s been miserable,” he added in a post on X on Wednesday.

Israeli officials assert that Hamas militants are present in schools and UNRWA facilities, hiding among displaced civilians, and that throughout Gaza the militant group systematically uses civilian infrastructure for military purposes.

Meanwhile, tensions escalate between Israeli and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant movement on Tuesday, after two Israeli civilians were killed in the occupied Golan Heights when a rocket hit their vehicle. The rocket fire was part of a barrage of about 40 projectiles launched by the Iran-backed group in retaliation for an alleged Israeli airstrike earlier in the day in Syria that killed a senior Hezbollah spy.

Yasser Qarnabash, believed to be a former bodyguard to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, was driving on the highway from Beirut to Damascus when his car was hit.

In response to the killing of Israeli civilians, the Israeli military said it targeted Hezbollah air defense systems on Wednesday deep inside Lebanon, in the Janat area of ​​the Bekaa Valley.

Israel and Hezbollah have traded fire almost daily since the Gaza conflict erupted. While still limited, the clashes have displaced some 200,000 people in northern Israel and southern Lebanon, raising fears of a full-scale war between the two sides.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to return northern Israelis to their homes, either through US-sponsored diplomatic talks or through “other means”.

For its part, Hezbollah has pledged to continue firing on Israel as long as fighting continues in Gaza.

High-level international talks are set to resume on Wednesday in Doha on a potential ceasefire in Gaza aimed at securing the release of the remaining Israeli hostages held by October 7.

CIA Director Bill Burns and David Barnea, head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, are expected to meet with Qatari and Egyptian mediators in an effort to pursue talks with Hamas. A US official expressed optimism last week about the chances of concluding a deal, saying there was now “a significant opportunity” to do so.

However, Netanyahu stressed over the weekend that “there are still gaps between the parties” and reiterated that he would not be willing to end the conflict as part of a deal “until all the goals of the war are achieved”.


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