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Israeli air strike on Gaza school kills at least 16 people

At least 16 people were killed in an Israeli strike on a school sheltering displaced families in central Gaza, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

Officials said that more than 50 were also wounded in the attack on the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) building in Nuseirat refugee camp.

The Israeli military said it took precautions to minimise risk to civilians before it targeted Hamas gunmen who were allegedly using the area as a hideout to plan and carry out attacks against soldiers.

At the scene, Ayman al-Atouneh said he saw children among the dead.

“We came here running to see the targeted area, we saw bodies of children, in pieces, this is a playground, there was a trampoline here, there were swing-sets, and vendors,” he said.

Mahmoud Basal, spokesman of the Gaza Civil Emergency Service, said in a statement that the number of dead could rise because many of the wounded were in critical condition.

People gather to search the rubble of a collapsed building in the aftermath of Israeli bombardment at the Jaouni school run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on July 6, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (Photo by Eyad BABA / AFP) (Photo by EYAD BABA/AFP via Getty Images)
People gather to search the rubble of a collapsed building in the aftermath of Israeli bombardment at the Jaouni school (Photo: Eyad Baba/Getty)

The attack meant no place in the enclave was safe for families who leave their houses to seek shelters, he added.

Al-Nuseirat, one of Gaza Strip’s eight historic refugee camps, was the site of stepped-up Israeli bombardment on Saturday. An air strike earlier on a house in the camp killed at least 10 people and wounded many others, according to medics.

In its daily update of people killed in the nearly nine-month-old war, the Gaza health ministry said Israeli military strikes across the enclave killed at least 29 Palestinians in the past 24 hours and wounded 100 others.

Among those killed in separate air strikes on Saturday were five local journalists, raising the toll of journalists killed since 7 October to 158, according to the Hamas-led Gaza government media office.

Gaza health authorities say more than 38,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s offensive. The health ministry does not distinguish between combatants and non-combatants – but officials say most the dead are civilians.

Israel has lost 323 soldiers in Gaza and says at least a third of the Palestinian dead are fighters.

Israel launched its offensive, aimed at eliminating the militant Islamist group Hamas, in response to a Hamas-led assault on Israel on 7 October in which 1,200 people were killed and over 250 taken hostage, according to Israeli tallies.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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