Israel-Hamas War: Hostages in Gaza Latest Update

A day later Israeli forces bombing of the UN school complex In central Gaza, which has become a haven for displaced Palestinians, some facts remain unclear or controversial.

Israel said it attacked three classrooms used by 20 to 30 Palestinian militants, including some who took part in the October 7 Hamas-led attack on Israel, and that it was not aware of the injuries. civilian deaths. Gazan health authorities said among the dozens of people killed, many were children and women. Here’s what we know and don’t know.

What was bombed?

The multi-storey building is one of several that make up UNRWA Nuseirat Boys’ Preparatory School. It is one of many schools in Gaza run by the main United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees and their descendants.

Like all schools in the territory, it ceased operating as a school in October, after Hamas led an attack on Israel and Israel began a retaliatory bombing campaign. And like many of them, it became crowded with people displaced from their homes in other parts of Gaza because of the war, finding shelter in schools, hospitals and other facilities that they hope to be less likely to be bombed.

Philippe Lazzarini, director of the United Nations aid agency for Palestinian refugees, said 6,000 people were living in the school. About three-quarters of Gaza’s roughly 2.2 million people have been displaced, many of them multiple times.

The Israeli military has called the school in Nuseirat a military base, saying that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants have used three of the school’s classrooms to plan and conduct operations against Israel.

How many people were killed in Nuseirat and who were they?

The Israeli military on Friday released the names of eight Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad fighters who it said were killed in the attack, adding to a list released on Thursday and bringing the total to 17. .

A military spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, said Thursday that he was “not aware of any civilian casualties” from the attack. The military did not respond when asked whether that was still the case on Friday.

But witnesses, medical staff and Gaza officials say dozens of civilians were killed – and many were children or women.

Palestinians grieve after the attack.Credit…Abed Khaled/Reuters

A Gaza Health Ministry official said Thursday that at least 41 people were killed and another said 46 people. Yasser Khattab, an official overseeing the morgue at Al Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in nearby Deir al Balah – where many bodies were taken – said 46 people died there, including 18 children and nine women. But his claim could not be independently confirmed.

Mr. Khattab said the hospital has a well-functioning system for recording and identifying bodies and body parts. “We look for any signs that can help us identify that person,” he said.

A New York Times reporter who visited the hospital after the bombing found it packed with bodies of the dead, the living and relatives of both, as well as doctors trying to find a way. walk through crowds of people. Witnesses described pulling the remains of children from the rubble at the school.

Karin Huster, medical coordinator for the aid group Doctors Without Borders working at the hospital, said most of the patients she saw in the past few days were women and children.

How careful are Israel’s actions?

The bombing in Nuseirat is a testament to the terrible calculation of the eight-month war. Operating in densely populated areas, Hamas is accused of using Palestinians and civilian infrastructure as shields. When targeting Hamas, Israel regularly kills civilians and is accused – even by its allies – of using excessive and indiscriminate force.

The Israeli military confirmed that the airstrike was carefully and precisely planned and carried out, targeting only three rooms in the school used by the rebels. Both there and at a camp in Rafah – site of Israeli bombing and subsequent shooting killing 45 people in late MayAccording to Gazan officials – Israel used the US-made GBU-39 bomb with about 37 pounds of explosives, which the military said was the smallest bomb carried by its warplanes.

The military said 20 to 30 rebels used the school as a base, including some who took part in the October 7 attack. They said they monitored them for three days before attacking at a time when there were fewest civilian casualties.

Gazan officials say the bombing and subsequent fire killed 45 people.Credit…Bashar Taleb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

International law of war Prohibited use of websites such as hospitals, schools and churches for military purposes. Those laws also prohibit military forces from attacking such sites, with limited exceptions if the enemy is using them.

Israel says it operates within the limits of that exception, because Hamas regularly operates inside those buildings and in the tunnels beneath them, making civilian casualties inevitable.

“We see that Hamas still exists and they still have capabilities above and below ground,” Col. Lerner said Thursday.

In recent months, Israeli forces have repeatedly returned to places like Nuseirat, which they had previously taken control of and then moved on when Hamas militants reappeared there. Israeli officials say that proves the need for attacks like Thursday’s.

Legal experts say how far strike forces can go with such operations depends on each case, based on how they try to protect civilians and distinguish them from combatants as well as billions. rate of attack with military advantage achieved. In other words, it can be very murky in specific cases.

Richard Pérez-Peña And Ephrat Livni Report contributions.

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