At least 16 people were killed in an Israeli airstrike on a school in Gaza.

video caption, Shock and horror at the Gaza blast site

  • the author, Rushdie Abolaouf and Tom MacArthur
  • the role, BBC News

At least 16 people were killed in an Israeli airstrike on a UN-run school in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials said. Dozens more have been injured.

According to the Hamas-run Health Ministry, the building was sheltering thousands of displaced people in the Nasirat refugee camp in central Gaza.

Israel said it had targeted a number of Hamas terrorists who were “operating in a structure located in the area of ​​the Aljuni school”.

A local source said the target was a room allegedly used by Hamas police. A spokesman for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) said the claims were “very, very serious” and should be investigated.

Israel has announced that it will send a team of negotiators next week to negotiate a hostage release deal with Hamas.

It comes after a senior US administration official said Hamas had agreed to make “significant adjustments” to its position regarding a possible ceasefire.

A senior Hamas source told Reuters on Saturday that the group had agreed to begin talks on the release of Israeli hostages 16 days after the proposed first phase of a proposed deal to end the Gaza war.

Video from the scene of the Nasirat school strike shows adults and children screaming in a street covered in smoke and debris, as they run to help the injured.

Witnesses told the BBC that the attack targeted the upper floors of the school, which is located near a busy market.

The BBC believes up to 7,000 people were using the building as a shelter.

A woman told AFP news agency that some children were killed while they were reading the Koran when the building was hit.

He said this is the fourth time they have targeted the school without any warning.

Hamas said five local journalists were among those killed in Israeli strikes on Saturday. His family members were also allegedly targeted.

According to Reporters Without Borders, more than 100 journalists have lost their lives in Gaza since the October 7 attacks.

Hamas said the five latest deaths brought the toll to 158.

image caption, Gaza authorities say at least 50 people were injured in the attack.

In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed the targeting of the school buildings, saying it had taken a number of measures to “minimize the risk of harm to civilians,” including precise aerial surveillance and additional intelligence. “The Use of Sex”.

It said Hamas militants were using the site as a “hideout” to carry out attacks against IDF troops.

“Hamas continues to systematically violate international law by exploiting civilian structures and civilian populations as human shields for its terrorist attacks against the State of Israel,” it added.

Hamas described the attack as a “massacre” of “defenseless homeless civilians”.

The group claimed through its English-language Telegram channel that the dead and injured included many women, children and the elderly.

image caption, The IDF said it was “looking into the details” of the incident.

The 1.7 million people who fled their homes during the nearly eight-month war have used many schools and other UN facilities as shelters.

“We don't have all the information yet. Since the start of the war, we've damaged more than half of our installations,” UNRWA communications director Juliet Touma told the BBC about the latest attack.

“Many of these were shelters, and as a result at least 500 people sheltering in these facilities have died. Many were women and children.”

He added that this is not the first time that Israel has made such claims and they should be investigated.

Local journalists told the BBC at the time that a warplane fired two missiles at classrooms on the top floor of the school.

After the attack, Israel's military said it had “targeted a Hamas compound” at the school, killing many of the 20 to 30 fighters who were inside.

The head of UNRWA described the June incident as “appalling” and said claims that armed groups could be inside a shelter were “shocking” but could not be confirmed.

Israel's war began on October 7 with an unprecedented attack on Israel by Hamas, in which Hamas-led gunmen killed nearly 1,200 people and took 251 others hostage.

At least 38,098 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza as a result of Israel's offensive, according to the Hamas-ruled territory's health ministry.

Israel has regularly accused UNRWA of supporting Hamas, which is banned as a terrorist organization by Israel, the United Kingdom, the United States and other countries.

The organization has rejected it.

In April, a UN investigation found that Israel had failed to back up claims that many of the agency's staff had ties to militant groups, but also said it had violated its impartiality, vetting of staff and transparency. can improve

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