School ‘bombed’ in latest escalation in Gaza, UNRWA chief says

Four schools have been attacked in the past four days. Since the war began, two-thirds UNRWA Schools in Gaza have been attacked, some bombed, many severely damaged,” Philippe Lazzarini said in a post on X.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Israeli military said it had targeted “terrorist infrastructure and terrorist fighters” in Gaza City.

Under Fire

On Tuesday, At least 25 people have been killed after an Israeli strike near a school building. providing shelter to displaced Gazans east of Khan Younis, south of Gaza, according to the enclave’s health authorities.

On Saturday, another airstrike killed at least 16 people at a UNRWA school in Nuseirat, central Gaza, followed a day later by an attack on a school in Gaza City that was said to be sheltering hundreds of people.

Further Israeli airstrikes were reported on Monday at or near a UNRWA school in Nuseirat, UNRWA Communications Director Juliette Touma said. United Nations News.

No place is safe

“This is becoming more common; in the last four days alone we have seen four schools attacked,” she said. Every time a school is attacked, “dozens of people pay the price.”

The UN agency – the largest humanitarian organisation in Gaza – closed all schools when war broke out on 7 October in response to Hamas-led attacks on multiple targets in southern Israel that left some 1,250 people dead and more than 250 taken hostage.

“We turned most of them into shelters and at one point we had up to a million people staying in our schools,” Ms Touma explained, adding that among the casualties from the most recent school strikes, “many” were women and children.

Since the war began, more than half of UNRWA’s facilities – mostly schools – have been attacked.

“Some schools were completely bombed and are no longer functioning,” Ms Touma said, adding that since the war began, at least 600,000 children had seen their schools close.

Lost Generation

“In the case of UNRWA, most of them are used as shelters, but this means that if this war continues, we are on the verge of losing a whole generation of children,” she continued.

“The longer children are out of school, the harder it is to make up for educational losses; Children are at increased risk of exploitation, including child labour and early marriage, as well as recruitment into armed groups and combat. So, for the sake of these children, we must cease fire.”

Responding to allegations that schools were being used by Hamas militants or Hamas affiliates, the UNRWA official insisted that no UN facility was being used for military purposes, before reiterating the Commissioner-General’s repeated calls for “independent investigations and inquiries into all of these very serious complaints”.

“Civilian infrastructure, including schools, shelters, including other facilities such as health, clinics or hospitals, must be protected at all times, including during times of conflict,” Ms. Touma stressed.

Number of people increased

In a related development, the United Nations’ sexual and reproductive health agency, United Nations Population Fund, warned that the humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate, with “severe suffering” now the norm.

Citing Gazan health authorities, UNFPA said that Nearly 38,000 Palestinians were killed and more than 87,000 were injured.with food, shelter, health and livelihoods all at “extremely low” levels.

Across the land, some 1.9 million people remain displaced by conflict – which is frequent – ​​and evacuation orders issued by the Israeli military.

The UN agency said Gazans were living in “tents, overcrowded shelters or on the streets without basic needs”, pointing to a widespread sense of despair among people “with little prospect of returning home or ending the conflict”.

Blocked life-saving equipment

The UNFPA situation update noted that “serious obstacles” to ensuring humanitarian aid can reach those in need continue to hamper relief efforts, including “the closure of crossing points and administrative barriers that impede life-saving assistance.”

According to the UN agency, problems related to the breakdown of law and order in Gaza have also led to increased theft and violence, endangering humanitarian workers and their operations.

Additionally, doctors continue to report increasing numbers of premature and low birth weight babies, “a sign of severe malnutrition due to stress and fear among pregnant women,” UNFPA said, while also highlighting the high risk of gender-based violence (GBV) faced by women and adolescent girls, “particularly those who are displaced, widowed or unaccompanied.”

Aid success

Despite challenges, UNFPA has provided essential sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence prevention services in Gaza and the West Bank.

The UN agency and partners have also set up two maternal health units for emergency deliveries, provided menstrual hygiene products to thousands of women and girls, supported mobile health posts, and deployed sexual and reproductive health teams to shelters.


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