At least 20 are dead after a United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) school was hit by tank fire in Jabalya, still referred to by the United Nations as a ‘refugee camp.’
The school has been serving as a humanitarian shelter for displaced Gazans forced to leave their homes for their own safety when the IDF attacks military targets planted by Hamas in residential areas. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists maintain an open policy of using families and friends as human shields in active combat against the IDF.
The incident occurred just hours after inspectors discovered another weapons cache at an UNRWA school in the region for the third time in two weeks. UNRWA officials asked a munitions exporter to remove the rockets at the site and ‘make the school safe,’ according to spokesman Chris Gunness, who said the fighting in the region made it impossible for munitions experts to access the site. Gunness condemned those who risk civilian lives by placing rockets at a school run by the international aid organization, noting its facilities are intended to be neutral and not involved in the fighting.
“We condemn the group or groups who endangered civilians by placing these munitions in our school,” Gunness wrote in a statement. “This is yet another flagrant violation of the neutrality of our premises. We call on all the warring parties to respect the inviolability of UN property.”
But he did not hold Hamas – the ruling government in Gaza – responsible for the incident, nor did he mention where UNRWA had sent the missiles, now for the third time.
Officials have been unable to clarify details about the incident at the UNRWA school in northern Gaza due to the fierce fighting taking place in the area. The IDF has not been able to confirm the claim by Gaza medical workers that Israeli tank fire was responsible for the shelling, and the incident remains under investigation.
More than once, Israel has been blamed for artillery fire on a Gaza target, only for the matter later to be clarified that the true source of the fire was a local terrorist group.Rachel Levy