on the ground accounts emerge

  • Post last modified:June 7, 2024
  • Reading time:8 mins read

Israel’s forces have bombed a UN school in central Gaza. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital in nearby Deir al-Balah said the strike killed 37 people and wounded 60, with many of them in critical condition. Director of the hospital, Doctor Khalil al-Dakran said:

We are in a very tragic situation because there is no space inside the hospital to receive more casualties.

Doctor al-Dakran explained that Palestine is so besieged that the hospital has been running at four times its clinical capacity.

An Agence France-Presse (AFP) photographer saw Palestinians removing blood-stained mattresses and examining damage to the school. Displaced Gazans had been sheltering in the school. Broken concrete slabs were littered around the school. Railings dangled from the building.

With blood still pooled in a corner, the distinct UN blue on the walls was a sign the building had served as a school for Nuseirat refugee camp.

‘No safe place’ thanks to Israel

Faisal Thari had fled to the UN school for safety. Shocked that even a school has been bombed, he deplored the civilian toll of the Gaza war. Thari told AFP:

The strike landed on civilians and poor people who had nothing to do with anything.

He stood in front of concrete hanging from the classroom ceiling by a thread of rebar and said:

Why? What have we done for them to bomb us?

We’ve fled from place to place. There is no safe place. No UNRWA school is safe. No tent is safe. There is no safe place.

Thousands sheltering

UNRWA commissioner-general Philippe Lazzarini wrote on social media:

Another horrific day in Gaza. Another UNRWA school turned shelter attacked

Lazzarini said 6,000 people had been sheltering on the school’s grounds when it was struck. He also said that the agency had given the co-ordinates of the facility to Israel, but was still targeted.

On the ground, an AFP journalist saw dozens of people crying amid bodies.

Distraught adults stood around a dead child laid on a blood-stained stretcher.

A woman held the child’s hand as the emergency blanket was wrapped around his body, a shiny substitute for a shroud.

People dressed in UNRWA vests inspected damage to the building.

In a classroom where dozens of people had been staying, chunks of concrete were strewn across the floor, along with mattresses and Batman-themed sheets.

‘We were sleeping’

“We were sleeping and at 2 o’clock we woke up to the ceiling, walls, and windows falling on us,” Salman al-Maqdama told AFP, having just returned from the hospital with his head wrapped in gauze and numerous scars on his face.

Ziad al-Qatrawi, also displaced, said those killed were civilians who had fled:

their homes in the north and came here to hide, to live a safe life.

Laundry was still hanging on the remaining intact railings behind Gamal Fnouna, a displaced Gazan:

Where do we go after eight months? They (the Israeli army) have chased us around and told us to come to these places which are supposed to be safe.

Many UNRWA buildings throughout the Gaza Strip were turned into shelters for civilians, due to the space they offer and the perception that UN buildings would be safer.

UNRWA says most of its schools housing displaced have been damaged by the war, some having been razed to the ground.

Israel conducted ‘targeted strikes’ apparently

The Israeli army regularly accuses armed Palestinian militants of hiding in these buildings. For the bombing of this particular school, the Israeli military claimed to have “conducted a precise strike on a Hamas compound.

Of course. A strike so precise, they were sure to kill fleeing refugees and children.

The excuses were met with suspicion on social media:

As has had to happen so often, one person had to correct an erroneous mainstream media headline:

Chief of Communications at Euro-Med Monitor also took the New York Times headline to task:

CNN journalist Allegra Godowin confirmed the use of US-made bombs in the attack:

Despite international standards to the contrary, Israel keeps bombing UN facilities again and again with no regard for the loss of life:

Palestinian journalist Younis Tirawi shared heartbreaking footage of the aftermath of the attack:


What can we even say anymore?

Palestinian journalists have documented the Israeli genocide on Palestine.

Palestinian journalists keep being killed, and the gaps on our social media feeds are loud.

What’s left to say at this stage?

We’ll keep witnessing the horror, but one thing has remained unchanged: Israel acting with complete freedom and impunity. There still aren’t any sanctions on the settler colonists, no repercussions from the international community, and ruling after ruling that goes ignored.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse

Featured image via YouTube screenshot/Al Jazeera English

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