Palestinian civil defense officials said Friday that more than 50 bodies were recovered from the rubble of a school in northern Gaza where civilians were sheltering when it was destroyed during overnight Israeli bombardment.
Palestine’s WAFA News Agency reported civil defense and ambulance rescue teams removed the blasted and crushed remains of victims of Thursday night’s missile and artillery strikes on the al-Buraq School in the al-Nasr neighborhood of Gaza City. The outlet said that most of those killed were women, children, and elders.
The Times of Israel reports that Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officials have not yet commented on the attack
Injured survivors of the attack were rushed to al-Shifa Hospital, which was hit by Israeli airstrikes at least four times over the past 24 hours.
As Common Dreams reported earlier Friday, Israeli strikes targeted the courtyard and obstetrics department of the hospital, where doctors have been forced to operate on patients without anesthesia after running out of critical supplies to treat an overwhelming number of wounded victims. Gaza officials said 13 people died in the attacks on al-Shifa.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, al-Shifa general director Muhammad Abu Salmiya called Friday “a day of war against hospitals.”
Israeli officials have made unsubstantiated claims of Hamas fighters operating from inside or under al-Shifa and other Gaza hospitals.
On Friday Israeli warplanes bombed in the vicinity of the Indonesian Hospital in Bait Lahia — where doctors announced a cessation of surgeries — while Mustafa al-Kahlout, director of the al-Nasr hospital and al-Rantisi Children’s Hospital in northern Gaza, told CNN that Israeli tanks had “surrounded” the complex.
Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said Friday that northern Gaza resembles “hell on Earth” due to Israel’s bombardment and a lack of aid.
The Gaza Health Ministry said Friday that at least 11,078 Palestinians — including more than 3,000 women and over 4,500 children — have been killed and upward of 27,000 injured by Israeli bombs and bullets since October 7, when Hamas-led attacks on Israel killed around 1,200 civilians and soldiers, with another 240 or so people taken hostage. Israeli officials on Friday revised down their death toll, which they previously said was higher than 1,400.
According to Gaza officials, around 70% of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have been forcibly displaced, while half the homes in the besieged strip have been destroyed. Officials also said 238 schools, 67 mosques, and 88 government buildings have been wiped out by Israeli attacks.
In the illegally occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem — whose residents were already suffering the deadliest year since the second intifada, or uprising, a generation ago — Israeli soldiers and settlers have killed at least 182 Palestinians while wounding thousands more since October 7.
After 35 days of relentless and indiscriminate bombing — an IDF spokesperson acknowledged early in the war that “the emphasis is on damage and not on accuracy” — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday during a visit to India that “far too many Palestinians have been killed.”
However, the U.S. continues to stand staunchly behind its number one Middle Eastern ally, with the Biden administration and Congress working on a $14.3 billion military aid package to Israel, atop the nearly $4 billion the country already receives from Washington annually. The U.S. also provides diplomatic cover for Israel, including a recent veto of a Brazil-led United Nations Security Council cease-fire resolution.
While Israel on Thursday agreed to daily four-hour humanitarian pauses for at least three days so that civilians have a chance to flee the constant bombardment and advancing IDF ground forces, Israeli officials — and U.S. President Joe Biden — stress that no cease-fire is imminent.
Israeli leaders have said a cease-fire is off the table until all hostages held by Gaza-based militants are freed. Abu Hamza, the military spokesperson of the al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, said Thursday that the group was preparing to release an elderly woman and teenage boy in its custody.
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini wrote in an opinion piece published Thursday by The Washington Post that “the present course chosen by the Israeli authorities will not bring the peace and stability that both Israelis and Palestinians want and deserve.”
“Razing entire neighborhoods to the ground is not an answer for the egregious crimes committed by Hamas,” Lazzarini asserted. “To the contrary, it is creating a new generation of aggrieved Palestinians who are likely to continue the cycle of violence. The carnage simply must stop.”
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