GAZA: Palestinians mourn over the body of a child following Zionist bombardment in Deir el-Balah in the central Gaza Strip on July 10, 2024. - AFP
GAZA: Palestinians mourn over the body of a child following Zionist bombardment in Deir el-Balah in the central Gaza Strip on July 10, 2024. - AFP


Zionists strike schools, raid UNRWA HQ • All Gaza City residents ordered to flee

GAZA: A Zionist missile slammed into a tent encampment in southern Gaza on Tuesday just as displaced people had gathered there to watch a football match at a school, eyewitnesses said on Wednesday. At least 29 people, mostly women and children, were killed in the strike, according to Palestinian officials, which took place as spectators crowded the school grounds in Abassan east of Khan Younis and hawkers sold smoothies and biscuits.

“They were watching a football match. There were injuries and martyrs. I witnessed this...people thrown around and body parts scattered, blood,” a young woman, Ghazzal Nasser, told Reuters in Abassan. “Everything was normal. People were playing, others were buying and selling (food and drinks). There was no sound of planes or anything,” she said.

At the nearby Nasser Hospital, dozens of Palestinians bid farewell to loved ones before funerals and burials. “The schools were overcrowded with people and the street was full too, suddenly a missile hit and destroyed the whole place,” said Asmaa Qudeih, who lost some relatives in the attack. “Bodies flew in the wind, body parts flew, I don’t know how to describe it,” she said.

One wounded man, Osama Abu Daqqa, recounted that “suddenly the strike hit, people were injured and martyred and there was no one to help them”. Another survivor, Mohamed Sukkar, said those hit in the strike “were not part of the resistance nor were they armed, they were all civilians”.

Deadly strikes have hit four schools used as shelters in four days, sparking rebukes from France and Germany which both labeled the attacks “unacceptable”. “We call for these strikes to be fully investigated,” said the French foreign ministry, highlighting the deadly strike on Tuesday on the school near Khan Yunis. “It is unacceptable that schools, especially those housing civilians displaced by the fighting, should be targeted.”

Zionist forces continued to press their offensive in north and central Gaza on Wednesday, and deepened their incursion into two Gaza City districts, carrying out house-to-house searches. Hamas said the renewed Zionist campaign threatened to

derail efforts to secure a ceasefire in the nine-month-old war, with talks to resume in Doha on Wednesday.

In Jerusalem, Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US Middle East envoy Brett McGurk he was committed to securing a Gaza ceasefire deal provided the Zionist entity’s red lines were respected, his office said. Hamas has accepted a key part of a US plan aimed at ending the nine-month-old war, dropping a demand that the Zionist entity first commit to a permanent ceasefire before signing the agreement.

Leaflets were dropped on Gaza City on Wednesday, this time with a map marking “safe routes” for the evacuation of the whole city, not just certain districts. The Zionist leaflets ordered civilians to head south to the central Gaza Strip. The city, home to more than a quarter of Gaza’s population before the war, was destroyed by a Zionist assault in the first weeks of fighting last year, but hundreds of thousands of Gazans are believed to have returned to the ruins in recent months.

Zionist forces patrolled the main road to the coast, snipers commandeered rooftops of some high-rise buildings still standing, and tanks were stationed inside the headquarters of the UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA, residents said. The Zionist military said in a statement its forces were continuing operations in Gaza City against militants of Hamas and its ally Islamic Jihad, who they said had operated from inside the UNRWA facilities. The UN agency has not had control of the building since October.

The latest fighting in Gaza has newly displaced 350,000 civilians, said UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini, who spoke before the leaflet drop and said “there is absolutely no safe space in Gaza”. Lazzarini wrote on social media platform X that “schools have gone from safe places of education and hope for children to overcrowded shelters and often ending up a place of death and misery”. One woman carrying her scant belongings through the ruins, Nimr Al-Jamal, told AFP on Tuesday that “this is the 12th time” her family has had to flee. “How many times can we endure this? A thousand times? Where will we end up?”

The Palestinian Red Crescent said it had received dozens of desperate calls from residents in Gaza City trapped in their homes but teams were unable to reach them because of the intensity of the bombing. “The information coming from Gaza City shows residents are living through tragic conditions. (Zionist) occupation forces continue to hit residential districts, and displace people from their homes and refuge shelters,” it said in a statement.

The armed wings of Hamas and Islamic Jihad said fighters fought with Zionist forces operating in the area with anti-tank rockets and mortar bombs, and sometimes in close-range combat. The Zionist military announced that one of its soldiers was killed in fighting on Tuesday in central Gaza. It has published the names of 681 military personnel killed in the Oct 7 attacks and subsequent fighting.

Zionist Defense Minister Yoav Gallant claimed on Wednesday that 60 percent of the fighters of Hamas had been killed or wounded as a result of the military offensive in Gaza. In the central Gaza camp of Al-Nuseirat, medics said six Palestinians, including children, were killed in an airstrike on a house, while another airstrike killed two people and wounded several others in Khan Younis.

The Zionist military offensive has killed at least 38,295 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to figures from the territory’s health ministry. The Zionist entity has also imposed a punishing siege on Gaza’s 2.4 million people. Aid group Doctors Without Borders has warned of “critical” shortages of medical supplies in Gaza, with no resupply for more than two months. – Agencies

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