close
close
Counters add new counter Standard counter counter id : 6290370 (Hidden) id counter displays: 6290370 site ID: 4637739 Hidden tracker Counter code standard NO JAVASCRIPT Site use frames Paste this code in your HTML editor where you would like to display the counter, at the bottom of the page, in a table, div or under a menu. gdpr policy for your website
bulletin

Israeli airstrike on Gaza school kills dozens during ceasefire negotiations

An Israeli airstrike hit a United Nations-run school in central Gaza on Thursday, reportedly killing dozens of civilians, including women and children. The Israeli military claimed the attack targeted Hamas fighters who were reportedly using the facility as a command post. The incident comes at a delicate time in ceasefire negotiations mediated by international actors, with both sides putting forward conflicting stories about the attack.

The airstrike on the Nuseirat refugee camp, which resulted in at least 40 deaths, according to Gaza’s health ministry, has drawn sharp condemnations from Palestinian officials. Ismail Al-Thawabta, the director of the Hamas-run government media agency, rejected Israel’s claims, calling them “false fabricated stories to justify the brutal crime the country has committed against dozens of displaced people.”

The Israeli military defended the operation, saying fighter jets carried out a “precise attack” on a Hamas compound inside the school. “We have great confidence in the intelligence services,” military spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said, emphasizing that Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters were using U.N. facilities as operational bases. According to Lerner, the compound housed 20 to 30 fighters, many of whom were killed in the attack.

Juliette Touma, communications director for the UN Palestine Refugee Agency (UNRWA), confirmed the school may have been hit multiple times but could not verify the death toll. Initial reports from Gaza media and a medical source put the death toll at 35-40, including 14 children and nine women.

The timing of the strike is particularly sensitive as it coincides with ongoing efforts to broker a ceasefire. US President Joe Biden has actively pushed for a deal that would include the release of hostages held by Hamas in exchange for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons. Despite these efforts, Israel continues to maintain that its main goal is to dismantle Hamas.

The Biden administration, in a joint statement with several other countries, urged both Israel and Hamas to make the necessary compromises to finalize a ceasefire deal. “At this decisive moment, we call on the leaders of Israel and Hamas to make all final compromises necessary to close this deal,” the statement said.

CIA Director William Burns met with officials from Qatar and Egypt in Doha on Wednesday to discuss the proposal. Despite these high-level talks, there has been no significant breakthrough, according to Egyptian security sources.

President Biden has repeatedly expressed optimism about the prospects for a ceasefire, but these statements have yet to translate into a lasting ceasefire. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing mounting domestic pressure to end the conflict, which began on October 7 when Hamas launched a surprise attack, killing around 1,200 people and capturing more than 250 hostages.

Israel’s military campaign in Gaza has resulted in significant casualties, with more than 36,000 Palestinians dead, according to health officials in Gaza. Israel claims that half of Hamas’s fighting force has been eliminated, reducing the group to 9,000 to 12,000 fighters from an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 before the conflict began.

As the war continues, the threat of an escalation with Hezbollah, based in Lebanon, looms. The US State Department has warned of the possibility of a wider conflict in the region.

© 2024 Business Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Related Articles

Back to top button