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Dhaka Tribune

Israel pounds Gaza refugee camp as war enters 9th month

Israeli air strikes on a UN-operated school sheltering displaced Palestinians in central Gaza killed 40 people

Update : 07 Jun 2024, 04:32 PM

Israeli strikes hammered a Gaza refugee camp on Friday after a deadly strike on a UN-run school there, as the war sparked by Hamas's unprecedented resistance campaign on Israel entered its ninth month.

The conflict has killed thousands, laid waste to much of the Gaza Strip, uprooted most of its 2.4 million population and put them at risk of starvation.

Diplomatic efforts to mediate the first ceasefire since a week-long pause in November appear to have stalled, only a week after US President Joe Biden offered a new three-stage roadmap.

Hamas has yet to respond to Biden's proposal. Israel has expressed openness to discussions while insisting on pursuing its war aim of destroying the Palestinian group.

Al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza, said at least 40 people were killed in Thursday's Israeli strike on the UN-run school in Nuseirat camp.

Israel's retaliatory military offensive has killed at least 36,654 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.

UNRWA said hundreds of displaced Palestinians had been sheltering at the school which was "hit without prior warning."

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the strike as "another horrific example of the price that civilians are paying."

The United States, which provides Israel with $3.8 billion in annual military aid, urged its ally to be "fully" transparent about the strike.

"The government of Israel has said that they are going to release more information about this strike, including the names of those who died in it. We expect them to be fully transparent in making that information public," said State Department spokesman Matthew Miller.

Israel accuses Hamas and its allies in Gaza of using schools, hospitals and other civilian infrastructure including facilities run by UNRWA as operational centres -- charges the fighters deny.

A day after the school was struck, eyewitnesses said the Nuseirat refugee camp came under attack again as Gaza faced Israeli attacks from land, sea, and air.

A source at Al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital said the Isa family home in the Bureij refugee camp was targeted, wounding several people.

Witnesses also confirmed Israeli strikes east of Deir al-Balah, as well as intensive fire from army vehicles near the Bureij camp, where a blaze was raging.

The Israeli military said it "eliminated dozens of terrorists" in eastern Bureij and eastern Deir al-Balah, and was continuing operations in the southern city of Rafah.

In Gaza City, casualties were reported from an Israeli strike on the Ashram family home near Al-Salam mosque, according to a source at Baptist Hospital.

Six people were killed and several wounded in an Israeli strike on the Wafati home in Maghazi camp, said a source at Al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital.

Fighter jets targeted the Al-Sultan neighbourhood of Rafah, sources in the city on the border with Egypt said.

Gaza also came under fire from the sea, with Israeli warships bombarding homes in the fishermen's port area, among others, west of Gaza City, an AFP correspondent said.

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