UNRWA school bombing in Gaza leaves dozens dead

The Israeli military strike hit the UN-run school without warning, according to survivors who spoke to Al Jazeera. Another man, Naim al-Dadah, condemned the attack as an act of terrorism by Israel.

A tragic scene unfolded in the early hours of Thursday morning as a UNRWA school sheltering displaced Palestinians in the Nuseirat refugee camp was bombed, leaving at least 32 people dead according to eyewitness accounts.

The Israeli military strike hit the UN-run school without warning, according to survivors who spoke to Al Jazeera. Another man, Naim al-Dadah, condemned the attack as an act of terrorism by Israel. Al-Dadah described a harrowing journey of displacement with his family, fleeing bombings in Gaza City, Khan Younis, and finally Rafah before ending up at the Nuseirat school.

The school compound was left in ruins, with bodies and bloodied belongings scattered amidst the debris according to photographs from the scene.

The Israeli military had no immediate comment on the deadly incident, which represents a potential violation of international law prohibiting attacks on civilian shelters and institutions. The UN Secretary-General condemned the strike, stating that nothing is more shameful than attacking sleeping children in remarks to the Security Council.

Palestinian officials decried the school bombing as the latest in a long line of disproportionate Israeli attacks against a trapped civilian population in Gaza. Over 800 Palestinians have been killed since the current conflict began in early July. Israeli spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner defended his country’s offensive as aimed at stopping Hamas rocket fire and underground infiltration tunnels.

With the death toll mounting and both sides unwilling to cease hostilities, the school bombing represents a horrific nadir in the three-week Gaza war with no resolution in sight.