Israeli airstrike kills 29 at Gaza displaced persons camp

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At least 29 Palestinians have died and dozens more were injured in an Israeli airstrike on a displaced persons’ camp outside a school in southern Gaza, according to hospital officials. Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry reported that the strike hit near the entrance of al-Awda school in the town of Abasan al-Kabira, east of Khan Younis city.

The Israeli military stated it used “precision munitions” to target a member of Hamas’ military wing allegedly involved in an October 7 attack on Israel. The military also acknowledged investigating reports of civilian casualties near al-Awda school, which shelters displaced individuals from Khan Younis’ eastern villages.

The incident occurred a week after Israeli authorities ordered civilians to evacuate Abasan al-Kabira and other eastern Khan Younis areas, prompting tens of thousands to flee. Witnesses described the area as densely populated with displaced persons, recounting a scene of devastation and casualties among women and children. Ayman Al-Dahma, 21, recounted seeing up to 3,000 people in the area, which included a market and residential buildings. He described the casualties as “unimaginable,” with severed limbs and chaos following the sudden rocket strike.

Mohamed Awadeh Anzeh, another witness, recalled the strike interrupting normal activities, describing a sudden blackout and chaotic aftermath with injuries, including his own. Iqram Sallout noted the lack of prior warning about the imminent strike in an area already filled with displaced people, tents, and young children. The injuries observed were severe, particularly among children, as depicted in a video showing casualties at a local hospital.

This airstrike marks the fourth recent attack on or near schools housing displaced persons in Gaza. The Israeli military defended the first three strikes, citing Hamas’ use of these facilities as bases for politicians, police officers, and fighters. These included strikes on a UN-run school in Nuseirat refugee camp, a church-run school in Gaza City, and another UN-run school in Nuseirat, resulting in fatalities and injuries.

Israel launched the Gaza campaign following a major attack on southern Israel on October 7, resulting in numerous casualties and hostages. The conflict has since claimed over 38,240 lives in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

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