UN school in Gaza hit by deadly attack, agency confirms
A United Nations school in northern Gaza, where thousands of displaced people were taking shelter, was hit by a deadly attack on Saturday, the UN confirmed. The attack, which the UN described as “horrifying”, killed and injured many women and children.
The school, al-Fakhoura in Jabalya, is run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the main UN agency for Palestinian refugees in Gaza. Video footage from the school showed bloodied bodies lying on the floor in several rooms of the two-story building. The school was also severely damaged, with a large hole in one of the walls and debris scattered in the courtyard.
The UNRWA spokesperson, Juliette Touma, said the exact number of casualties was still unclear, as information was still coming in. She could not confirm the cause or the perpetrator of the attack.
The UNRWA chief, Philippe Lazzarini, expressed his shock and outrage at the attack in a post on X (formerly Twitter). He said the attack was unacceptable and violated international humanitarian law. He called for an immediate investigation and accountability.
The Israeli military said it was reviewing the incident, but did not provide any further details.
Egypt and Qatar condemned the attack and blamed Israel’s military operation in the besieged territory. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said the attack was a “bombing” and part of a series of Israeli violations against civilians in Gaza. Qatar urged independent UN investigators to go to Gaza and probe the “ongoing targeting of schools and hospitals”.
The attack on Saturday was the second time in 24 hours that an UNRWA school in northern Gaza was hit, the agency said. Another school in Zaitoun, which was hosting 4,000 displaced people, was struck multiple times on Friday, Touma said. She said ambulances were reportedly unable to reach the school, probably due to the fighting and the communications blackout.
Lazzarini said dozens of people were likely killed in that attack. He said these attacks could not become commonplace and must stop. He also called for a humanitarian ceasefire without delay.