Israel-Hamas war: Scores killed in school and refugee camp strikes

Sunday, 19 November 2023 - 16:24

The head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) has denounced the "horrifying” strikes on schools housing displaced people in Gaza.

An official from the Hamas Health Ministry had previously said at least 50 dead were killed in one of these attacks.

“These attacks cannot become commonplace, they must stop. A humanitarian ceasefire cannot wait any longer,” UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini wrote in a post on X - formerly Twitter.

Lazzarini also called for an immediate ceasefire, saying such a pause “cannot wait any longer”.

There is an "urgent need to improve the humanitarian situation" in the Gaza Strip, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said during a telephone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The chancellor “underlined the urgent need to improve the humanitarian situation of the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip,” according to a statement. “Humanitarian ceasefires could contribute to a substantial improvement in care for populations,” he added.

Thousands of people demonstrated again on Saturday in the United Kingdom to support the Palestinians and demand a ceasefire in Gaza.

Other protests were also organised in several British cities.

Last Saturday, around 300,000 people marched in London according to the Metropolitan police, the largest demonstration organised in the British capital since 7 October.

Since then, London’s police force have recorded 386 arrests in connection with the conflict, including 253 in connection with demonstrations.

The Hamas health ministry has reported the deaths of more than 80 people in two separate Israeli strikes on a UN-run refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip.

Neither the Israeli army nor the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) immediately commented.

The first strike left at least 50 dead "at dawn, at the al-Fakhoura school", in the Jabalia camp, where displaced people were staying, a ministry official told AFP.

Images posted on social media showed bodies, some covered in blood, others in dust, on the floors of the building, where mattresses had been installed under school tables.

In the second strike, the ministry announced the death of 32 members of the same family, including 19 children, by releasing the list of names of the Abou Habal family.

At the beginning of November, the Hamas government announced more than 200 dead and hundreds injured in Israeli bombings of the Jabalia refugee camp, during various strikes spread over three days.

Jabalia is the largest refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, where more than 80% of the inhabitants are refugees or descendants of refugees who left their homes in 1948 when the State of Israel was established.

All are run by UNRWA which manages the eight camps in the small territory.

In Jabalia, they manage 26 schools and two health centres.

According to the UN agency, at least 71 displaced people were killed and 573 injured while sheltering in some of the 154 structures it opened in the Gaza Strip.

These shelters now accommodate some 813,000 displaced people, according to UNRWA.

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