top of page
  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Israel strikes on home and school building kill dozens as fighting rages across Gaza

Mourners near the bodies of relatives killed in Israeli airstrikes on Nuseirat and Deir al-Balah in Gaza, on Oct. 22, 2023. Thousands of children have been killed in the enclave since the Israeli assault began, officials in Gaza say. The Israeli military says it takes “all feasible precautions” to avoid civilian deaths. Nonetheless, Israeli airstrikes overnight killed dozens of people at a family home and a school in Nuseirat, local residents and a hospital spokesperson said Tuesday. (Samar Abu Elouf/The New York Times)

By Liam Stack and Nader Ibrahim

Israeli airstrikes overnight killed dozens of people at a family home and a school in the central Gaza Strip, local residents and a hospital spokesperson said Tuesday, as fighting intensified across the territory, with Israeli troops and Hamas fighters battling in the south, while Israeli jets and tanks pounded the north and center.

Witnesses said an Israeli bomb destroyed the home of the Karaja family Monday night in the town of Nuseirat, where workers spent hours digging through rubble, pulling out both survivors and the dead. Khalil Degran, a spokesperson for Aqsa hospital in nearby Deir al-Balah, said in an interview that 30 people were killed at the house; a rescue worker, Hazem Abu Takyia, told the Reuters news agency that he knew of 15 deaths.

The Israeli military declined to comment on that attack but confirmed that it had struck a school building early Tuesday in Nuseirat that it said was being used to plan attacks on Israeli soldiers. Reuters and The Associated Press reported that the building, like many of Gaza’s schools, was being used as a shelter for displaced civilians.

Israel said the strike on the school killed 15 militants, including 10 Hamas fighters, some of whom it accused of participating in the Oct. 7 terrorist attack on southern Israel that ignited the war. Degran said that 12 people were killed at the school and that he did not know their backgrounds.

Juliette Touma, a spokesperson for UNRWA, the primary United Nations aid agency in Gaza, said it could not confirm Israel’s claims, adding that any “report of a violation of U.N. premises” must be investigated.

In a statement, the Israeli military said the school had been used to plan attacks on Israeli soldiers in Gaza and that some of those killed in the strike were from Hamas’ highly trained Nukhba brigade.

“The Hamas terrorist organization systematically exploits the civilian population and institutions as human shields for their terrorist activities against the state of Israel,” the army said.

In a video report Tuesday, a U.N. employee, Abu Abdullah Zuhair Abu Rahma, told Reuters that people “came to the school to be safe.”

“The school was hit without any warning,” Abu Rahma said. “It seems that there is no safe place in the Gaza Strip.”

Classes were canceled when the war broke out, and many schools became shelters for displaced residents of Gaza fleeing from the fighting. A recent study by the Education Cluster, a research group that works with the U.N., based on satellite imagery, found that well over 80% of the schools across the Gaza Strip have been destroyed or severely damaged since the war began, including all of its universities. More than 200 schools have suffered direct hits from missiles, bombs or artillery.

In November, an Israeli strike on a U.N. school sheltering displaced people killed 24.

Over the weekend, Israel said its forces would return to areas of northern Gaza where it had routed Hamas months ago, because of “intelligence information regarding attempts by Hamas to reassemble.” The scale of the fighting Tuesday suggests how far those efforts to regroup may have gone.

In Jabalia, in northern Gaza, which Israel seized in the early months of the war, the military Tuesday said its forces had “eliminated by tank fire dozens of terrorists” over the previous day.

Israel said its soldiers in Jabalia also dismantled explosives, conducted raids and used warplanes to kill a Hamas fighter who was preparing to launch a rocket-propelled grenade at Israeli forces.

The military said it was also continuing to fight Hamas in Zeitoun, a neighborhood of Gaza City in the north where Israel had also defeated the group in the early months of the war.

In central Gaza, Israel said its fighter jets “struck a war room of the terrorist organization” Monday, killing five Hamas fighters, and killed several more with tank fire, it said. An Israeli statement did not specify where the building was, so it was not clear if it referred to the home or the school in Nuseirat.

In a statement, Hamas said only that its fighters had been “targeting enemy soldiers and vehicles in the areas of the northern Gaza Strip.”

The Gaza Health Ministry said Tuesday that 82 people had been killed in the previous 24 hours.

Fighting also continued in Rafah, a southern city that Israeli forces entered last week, and where more than 1 million Palestinians had sought safety from months of Israeli bombardment in other parts of the enclave. The U.N. said Tuesday that in a little over a week, about 450,000 people had fled Rafah.

Israel said its forces killed members of “several armed terrorist cells in close-quarters encounters” near the Rafah crossing with Egypt, a vital entry point for humanitarian aid, which has been closed since Israeli forces seized control of it last week. Israeli and Egyptian officials have blamed each other for the closure.

Hamas said it fired on Israeli troops stationed at the border crossing for the second day in a row. On Monday, Israel dismissed those claims as “psychological terror.”

On Tuesday, Hamas said it destroyed an Israeli troop carrier in eastern Rafah, killing and injuring several soldiers who were evacuated by helicopter. The Israeli military declined to comment.

“Hamas is a terrorist organization, and we do not respond to their claims,” it said.

6 views0 comments


bottom of page