Israel-Hamas: UN, US condemn school attack, deaths hit 14,000

Written by on November 20, 2023

Gaza’s Hamas government said Sunday that the death toll from fighting between Israeli troops and Hamas militants in the Palestinian territory had reached 13,000 since the war began on October 7.

Hamas gunmen killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and captured around 240 more as hostages, according to Israel, when they surged over the militarised Gaza border.

AFP reports that the Hamas government said more than 5,500 children were among the dead, alongside 3,500 women, with 30,000 more people wounded. Its health ministry has previously said it can no longer give exact tolls as intense fighting has prevented bodies from being recovered.

The White House on Sunday however said it was looking into the devastating blast at a United Nations-run school and shelter in northern Gaza, an official said.

According to CNN, Washington is gathering information about Saturday’s strikes on the UN-run school that was used as a shelter in Gaza, Deputy National Security Adviser, Jon Finer, said on Sunday.

“What I can say at this point — and we’re also in touch with the Israelis to try to find out what they know about what happened — is that, if harm was done to innocent civilians sheltering at a UN site, that would be totally unacceptable,” Finer said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Sunday that he was “deeply shocked” that two UN schools were struck in less than 24 hours in the Gaza Strip, killing and injuring dozens of people – many women and children – “as they were seeking safety in United Nations premises

“Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians are seeking shelter at United Nations facilities throughout Gaza due to the intensified fighting. I reaffirm that our premises are inviolable,” Guterres said in a statement, according to Jerusalem Post.

A spokesperson for the UN Relief and Works Agency, which runs the schools in Palestinian refugee camps and serves as the main UN relief agency in Gaza, confirmed the strike on Saturday.

It was the second time in 24 hours a UNRWA school in northern Gaza was struck, the agency said, as leaders and human rights workers raised concerns over the scale of civilians killed in Israel’s assault on the Palestinian enclave.

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