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Report: US Bombs Used in Israeli Massacre of 40 in Gaza Refugee Camp

The targeting of the UN school-turned-shelter is a “blatant” violation of international law, one UN official said.

A view of destruction at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) school sheltering thousands of people, in Nuseirat Refugee Camp, Gaza, on June 6, 2024.

An Israeli bombing that killed 40 Palestinians and wounded 74 sheltering in a UN school-turned-shelter in a refugee camp in central Gaza on Thursday was carried out using U.S.-made weapons, an analysis finds.

Fragments of at least two U.S.-made GBU-39 small diameter bombs were found at the scene of the bombing on the Nuseirat refugee camp, CNN found in a review that concluded they were used in the devastating overnight strike.

The bombing, which Gaza officials say killed at least 14 children and wounded 23, is a “blatant” violation of international law, human rights groups have said. International law prohibits targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure in war.

“Attacking, targeting or using UN buildings for military purposes are a blatant disregard of International Humanitarian law,” said UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini. “UNRWA shares the coordinates of all its facilities (including this school) with the Israeli Army and other parties to the conflict. Targeting UN premises or using them for military purposes cannot become the new norm.”

Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said that the attack is a “suspected war crime.”

If these assessments are correct, this represents direct evidence that U.S. military assistance is being used by Israeli forces to commit war crimes. U.S. weapons have been used in many war crimes committed by Israeli forces in recent months, previous reports have found.

These assessments run contrary to a recent report released by the State Department concluding that it’s “reasonable to assess” that U.S. weapons have been used in violation of international law, but that there is not enough direct evidence of Israel’s culpability in slaughtering civilians en masse. If that report had directly concluded that U.S. weapons are being used to commit Israeli war crimes, it would have spurred the U.S. to consider withholding military aid to Israel in accordance with U.S. and international law.

The conclusions of the report raised an uproar. A U.S. State Department official who quit after the release of the report said that its conclusions were fabricated by higher ups in the department to provide cover for U.S. officials working to send Israel yet more aid to be used to commit atrocities against Palestinians.

Eyewitnesses say the attack on the Nuseirat school was horrific, with Israeli forces releasing two bombs on the building that was sheltering 6,000 Palestinians who had been displaced multiple times over the course of Israel’s genocide. At the site of the attack, the smell of blood hangs heavy in the air, reported Palestinian journalist Hind Khoudary.

“We were inside the school and suddenly we were bombed, people here turned to pieces on a harsh night … this building housed families and young people, and the shelling took place without warning,” survivor Anas al-Dahouk told Al Jazeera.

The school is one of the many UNRWA facilities that have been targeted by Israeli forces since October. According to Lazzarini, 180 UNRWA buildings have been attacked, killing at least 450 Palestinians in UN facilities alone.

According to the official death toll, Israel’s genocidal assault has killed at least 36,600 Palestinians. But the true death toll is likely far higher, as thousands more Palestinians are missing and presumed to be dead under the rubble of buildings bombed by Israel. The count also doesn’t include those who have died for reasons like starvation or illness outside of health facilities in the region.

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