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Israeli Air Strike on UN-School Kills 'At Least 50' on Devastating Day of Attacks

Palestinians in northern and southern Gaza targeted with relentless bombardment, as patients are also forced out of al-Shifa Hospital in wheelchairs and beds

Palestinian children react after an Israeli strike on a house in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, on 18 November 2023 (Reuters)

An Israeli air strike on a United Nations-run school in northern Gaza has killed "at least 50 people" according to a health official, on another devastating day of Israeli attacks on Palestinians in the besieged enclave.

Graphic footage aired by Al Jazeera on Saturday showed scores of lifeless bodies following the attack on al-Fakhoura school, which is run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (Unrwa).

It was being used as a shelter by hundreds of Palestinians.

The school, located in the Jabalia refugee camp, had already been struck earlier this month, and was previously targeted by Israeli forces during escalations of violence in 2009 and 2014.

Another Israeli strike on a building in the camp killed 32 people from the same family, the same official told AFP.

The health ministry released a list of 32 members of the Abu Habal family who were killed in the attack, 19 of whom were children.

Elsewhere in northern Gaza, at least 63 Palestinians were dead on arrival at the Indonesian Hospital at dawn on Saturday, a medical source told Al Jazeera.

The attack on the Jabalia camp followed a series of deadly attacks carried out by the Israeli military north of the enclave, including in Beit Lahia, Beit Hanoun and Gaza City.

Israel's military also launched devastating attacks in southern Gaza, which has been targeted for weeks despite repeated Israeli orders for one million Palestinians in the north to flee there.

At least 26 people were killed by an Israeli air strike on a residential neighbourhood in Khan Younis during the early hours of Saturday. Children were among those killed.

In the afternoon, the military struck a house west of Khan Younis, killing 15 people, health officials from Gaza's Nasser Hospital said.

Elsewhere in the south, an Israeli air strike on a house in Deir al-Balah killed six Palestinians according to health officials.

The death toll of Palestinians killed in Israel's war on Gaza over the past six weeks has surpassed 12,000, the vast majority of whom are women and children.

It came after Hamas's surprise attack on southern Israel on 7 October, which ended with 1,200 Israelis dead. Around 240 people were also taken captive to Gaza.

Patients forced out of al-Shifa on wheelchairs

In the northern part of Gaza City, the majority of patients at al-Shifa Hospital - the largest medical complex in the territory - were forced out by the Israeli military.

Dr Munir al-Borsh, director general of the Palestinian health ministry, told Al Jazeera that people inside were made to raise white flags as they walked in a line with Israeli tanks and soldiers on either side.

"Many of the patients were put on wheelchairs or rolling beds. Family members were forced to carry their wounded children or parents themselves," Borsh said. "These are horrible, unprecedented scenes."

At around midday, 120 patients were still in the hospital, including premature babies.

Five doctors and several nurses also remained behind to facilitate the evacuation of the remaining wounded, awaiting the help of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Borsh was among those forced out, and had walked at least two kilometres. He said he was headed to the Indonesian Hospital to continue his work.

In a statement on Saturday morning, the Israeli military denied ordering the evacuation. It claimed instead that the director of the hospital asked for a "secure axis" to allow those sheltering in the facility to flee.

Doctors and health officials at al-Shifa strongly denied Israel's version of events.

Ismail al-Thawabta, a spokesperson for the Palestinian media office in Gaza, said that people inside were forced to leave at gunpoint.

He added that many of those fleeing were at imminent risk of death because "they require swift medical attention".


(c) 2023, Middle East Eye


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