Amidst the ongoing conflict in Gaza, a United Nations-run school designated as a safe haven for displaced Palestinians has been targeted, resulting in a tragic loss of life. The attack on the school, which claimed the lives of at least 24 people, has been condemned by United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini. Urging an end to such acts of violence, Lazzarini emphasized the need for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.
The devastating incident was captured in a graphic video released by Al Jazeera, showcasing the unimaginable destruction within the al-Fakhoora school. As details continue to emerge, Egypt and Qatar have placed blame on Israel’s military for these targeted attacks on schools and hospitals, leading Qatar to call for an independent investigation by the United Nations.
The extent of casualties and the party responsible for this horrifying act remain uncertain, leaving UNRWA spokesperson Juliette Touma to admit that the situation is evolving. The Israeli military has stated that it is currently reviewing the incident.
With the al-Fakhoora school having already been targeted in a previous attack on November 4, resulting in the death of 12 people and injuring 54 others, the latest assault raises alarming concerns about the safety of civilians seeking refuge in UNRWA-run facilities. Another school in northern Gaza, which had been providing shelter for 4,000 people, was also hit less than 24 hours prior to this tragic attack.
The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, expressed deep shock at the repeated strikes on UNRWA schools, emphasizing that the lives lost were predominantly women and children who had sought shelter with the expectation of safety. Guterres urgently renewed his call for an immediate ceasefire, stressing the inviolability of United Nations premises that are currently sheltering hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians.
1. What is UNRWA?
UNRWA stands for United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. It is an agency created by the United Nations to provide assistance and protection to Palestinian refugees in the Middle East.
2. What is the situation in Gaza?
Gaza has been facing an ongoing conflict characterized by violence and military operations. The region has experienced numerous clashes between Israel and Palestinian groups, resulting in significant civilian casualties and displacement.
3. Why are schools being targeted in Gaza?
Schools and other civilian infrastructure in Gaza have been targeted during the conflict, leading to substantial loss of life and destruction. The reasons for the targeting of these facilities vary, with different parties often attributing blame to one another.
4. What actions are being taken to address the situation in Gaza?
International organizations and leaders, including the United Nations, have called for an immediate ceasefire and have urged parties involved to prioritize the safety of civilians. Efforts are also being made to investigate the attacks and ensure accountability for those responsible.