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Israeli attack kills over 15 at UN shelter

July 7, 2024

By Eyad Kourdi, Kareem El Damanhoury and Lauren Izso, CNN

(CNN) — An Israeli attack has killed at least 16 Palestinians and injured 50 others at UNRWA’s Al-Jaouni school sheltering displaced people in al-Nuseirat camp in central Gaza, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said on Saturday.

CNN cannot independently verify the ministry’s numbers.

A displaced man at the school told CNN children were among the injured.

“There was a swing here, swings were here, (children) were playing. What was their fault?” he said as he held his little daughter. “We barely found this place in the school, but even the school is not safe.”

CNN video shows several injured children arriving at a nearby hospital following the attack.

The Israeli military said in a statement on Saturday militants were operating in structures located in the school area.

“This location served as a hideout and operational infrastructure from which attacks against IDF (Israel Defense Forces) troops operating in the Gaza Strip were directed and carried out,” the statement added.

CNN cannot independently verify the Israeli military’s claim.

UNRWA Communication Director Juliette Touma told CNN UNRWA does not have all the information yet, adding that half of UNRWA’s facilities in Gaza have been hit since October 7.

“At least 500 people sheltering in those (UNRWA) facilities have been killed, many were women and children,” she added.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said it “condemned in the strongest terms” the attack on the UNRWA building, which it said “houses thousands of displaced civilians.”

Jordan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounced the strike and what it called Israel’s “clear disregard for the rules of international law,” saying that humanitarian facilities and shelters must be protected under international law.

The news comes just as it appeared some progress was being made in long-stalled hostage release and truce negotiations. A senior Hamas official told CNN the militant group was ready to reconsider its insistence that Israel commit to a permanent ceasefire in Gaza before signing an agreement that would usher in a temporary truce and begin a process to release hostages.

Meanwhile, the near-weekly demonstrations against the Israeli government continued on Saturday. Thousands gathered in Tel Aviv’s Democracy Square to call for new elections and the release of hostages amid discontent with how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has handled issues including the war in Gaza.

Israeli police said in a statement that two protesters were arrested at the Tel Aviv demonstration, citing violations of public order and unsafe behavior, including “lighting bonfires on the road.”

The police said they deployed in large forces to maintain security and order and dispersed the demonstration after protesters illegally gathered on Menachem Begin Road and tried to block it, despite initial approval for the protest.

Protesters waved Israeli flags and held signs criticizing Netanyahu, while police used water cannons to disperse demonstrators blocking the traffic on the Ayalon Highway.

“After most of the protesters dispersed naturally and in light of the violations of order by a handful of protesters, the police had to declare an illegal demonstration,” the police said.

“During the dispersal of the rioters, the police arrested two suspects.”

The Israeli police further warned that it “will act with zero tolerance towards those who disrupt the order and will not listen to the policemen’s instructions.”

The chairman of Israel’s National Unity and former war cabinet minister, Benny Gantz, was seen participating in a rally calling for the return of the hostages.

The often-weekly demonstrations have yet to change the political landscape, and Netanyahu still controls a stable majority in parliament.

Additional reporting by Hamdi Alkhshali and Ibrahim Dahman.

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