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Israel Bombed 4 UN Schools-Turned-Shelters in Just 24 Hours, Relief Agency Says

The UNRWA called for a “humanitarian ceasefire” in the face of the devastation.

Civilians conduct search and rescue operations and debris removal work at the heavily damaged buildings after Israeli attacks at Al Bureij Refugee Camp as Israeli attacks continue on the 27th day in Gaza City, Gaza, on November 2, 2023.

Israeli air raids damaged four UN-run schools in refugee camps across the Gaza Strip over the course of just 24 hours this week, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) reported Thursday.

According to the agency, the bombardments damaged two schools-turned-shelters in the Jabalia refugee camp and Beach refugee camp in northern Gaza. The shelter in Jabalia, Gaza’s largest refugee camp, was hit after two days of heavy Israeli shelling in the area that killed and wounded hundreds.

Israeli strikes hit two more schools-turned shelters in the Al Bureij refugee camp in southern Gaza — an area that Israel has been ordering Palestinians to evacuate to as a supposed safe zone.

In all, the Israeli strikes killed at least 23 people and injured at least 36 people. The UNRWA reported that the strikes killed at least one child — though, with the high proportion of children being killed by Israel’s genocide, and Palestinians warning that Gaza is becoming a “graveyard for children,” it is possible that the Israeli strikes killed far more children.

According to UNRWA estimates, the four shelters that Israel bombed or damaged were housing nearly 20,000 people combined. In total, the agency says that roughly 150 UNRWA buildings are being used to shelter around 700,000 people, or around a third of the 2.2 million Palestinians who live in Gaza.

The UNRWA called for a “humanitarian ceasefire” in the face of the devastation.

“Across the Gaza Strip, these shelters should be a safe haven, under the flag of the United Nations. International humanitarian law leaves no doubt that civilians and civilian facilities must be protected,” the group wrote. So far, Israeli strikes have killed 72 UNRWA employees since the current siege began on October 7, 2023, the agency highlighted.

“Overnight, we lost Mai, a bright software developer in her mid-20s with physical disabilities. She was displaced from her home and killed in the Jabalia Refugee Camp with members of her family,” the agency wrote. “How many more? How much more grief and suffering? A humanitarian ceasefire is overdue for the sake of humanity.”

Israel’s ethnic cleansing campaign in Gaza has internally displaced 1.5 million people in the area, according to UN agency estimates, while Israeli airstrikes have damaged or destroyed at least 45 percent of the region’s housing units.

Israel’s blockade of fuel and electricity has forced over a third of hospitals in Gaza to shut down, along with two thirds of clinics.

On Wednesday, Palestinian officials said that the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital — which housed the only cancer treatment center in Gaza — has been forced to close due to a lack of electricity and fuel. Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest hospital in Gaza City, had to shut down one of two generators running the facility on Thursday, suspending all but the most critical life support operations.

The Palestinian health ministry says that a dozen cancer patients have died due to the hospital shutdown. The overall death toll in Gaza has reached 9,227, according to the Palestinian health ministry, with at least 32,516 injured. As the Israeli government is launching relentless attacks from the air, meanwhile, it is also expanding its ground operations. The Israel Defense Forces has said that its military has now completely surrounded Gaza City. A military spokesperson has said that a ceasefire is “not on the table at all.”

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