NO SAFE PLACE: Israel attacks UNRWA school in Gaza refugee camp, leaving 6 dead and dozens injured
10/23/2023 // Belle Carter // Views

At least six people, mostly women and children, were killed while dozens were injured, including staff, by a devastating airstrike by the Israeli military on a United Nations (UN) school at the Al-Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza on Oct. 17.

This was reported by Philippe Lazzarini, commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

The UNRWA chief posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, lambasting the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for the attack. The post was captioned: "This is outrageous, and it again shows a flagrant disregard for the lives of civilians. No place is safe in Gaza anymore, not even UNRWA facilities."

The commissioner-general, who issued the statement from Amman, Jordan added that the numbers are "likely to be higher." This school, now severely damaged, was supposed to serve as a safe haven for refugees and civilians. At least 4,000 people have taken refuge in this UNRWA school-turned-shelter since the start of the war. "They had and still have nowhere else to go," Lazzarini announced.

X user @adham922 posted: "The attack left devastating consequences, constituting a clear breach of international laws. However, the Israeli policy displayed a blatant disregard for humanitarian safety and international norms. Unfortunately, this heinous attack resulted in the loss of six lives, with the majority being innocent children and women seeking refuge in this center. The world must unite in condemning this criminal act and ensure that those responsible are held accountable." Critics speculate that UNRWA providing the coordinates of its facilities to relevant parties on a daily basis since the conflict began earlier in October, as Lazzarini claimed, could have catalyzed the violent attack on the school.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a fresh alert on Tuesday for civilians left in northern Gaza, amid ongoing military operations in the enclave ahead of an anticipated full-scale Israeli response to Hamas's attack.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization documented 48 attacks on health care in Gaza since the war erupted. At least 24 hospitals were damaged during the bombings, and three facilities in northern Gaza had to be evacuated. Most recently, at least 500 people are feared dead after an explosion rocked a hospital. Hamas and the IDF have blamed each other for the incident, with the Palestinian Health Ministry saying an Israeli airstrike hit the hospital. Israel said the cause was a misfired Hamas rocket.

As of press time, the ongoing conflict has already claimed 4,200 lives, including journalists, medical staff and even U.N. colleagues. It displaced more than one million individuals as they fled their homes following an order from the Israeli authorities. Large areas in the Gaza Strip were "reduced to rubble," OHCHR said.

U.S. assessment: Israel not responsible for Gaza hospital blast

Amid the conflicting claims of who was responsible for the Al-Alhi Baptist Hospital blast, the White House said on Wednesday that a current intelligence assessment shows Israel was "not responsible" for the explosion, but that information was still being collected. (Related: Who blew up the al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza? Israel initially took credit, then denied all responsibility.)

President Joe Biden said that data from his Defense Department showed that the explosion was not likely caused by an airstrike by the IDF. National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said Wednesday in a social media post that the assessment is "based on analysis of overhead imagery, intercepts and open source information." The statement came following Biden's comment to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that "based on what I have seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you."

Biden just wrapped his 7 1/2-hour visit that produced a heaping dose of vocal support, a deal to get limited humanitarian aid into Gaza from Egypt, likely by the end of the week, and a plea for Israelis not to allow rage over the deadly Hamas attack to consume them. "I understand. Many Americans understand," Biden said in Tel Aviv, likening the Hamas assault to the attacks against the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, that killed nearly 3,000 people. "You can't look at what has happened here ... and not scream out for justice," the POTUS said. "But I caution this: While you feel that rage, don’t be consumed by it. After 9/11, we were enraged in the United States. And while we sought justice and got justice, we also made mistakes."

Aboard the flight back to Washington Biden reportedly made progress when he spoke by phone with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi who agreed to reopen his country's sealed border crossing with Gaza and allow up to 20 trucks carrying humanitarian aid supplies to cross.

Biden also plans to ask Congress for more than $2 billion in combined additional aid for Israel and Ukraine. He also announced $100 million in aid to Gaza and the West Bank.

Catch updates on the escalating conflict in the Middle East at

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