Israel says strike on UN Gaza school killed 17 militants


Yemenis brandishing rifles take part in a solidarity march with the Palestinian people of the Gaza Strip, in the Huthi-run capital Sanaa on June 7, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the militant Hamas group in the Gaza Strip. [AFP]

Israel's army said on Friday it had killed 17 militants the day before in an air strike on a UN school in central Gaza, raising its previous toll from nine.

Thursday's Israeli strike hit a school operated by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, in the Nuseirat area of central Gaza where thousands of displaced people were sheltering.

The nearby Al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital  said that at least 37 people were killed in the strike.

"Since the targeted strike the (Israeli army) has confirmed the identity of 17 terrorists that were operating from the school," the military said in a statement.

The Hamas media office accused the Israeli army of spreading "false information", claiming that three people presented as dead by Israel were still alive and that at least two had been killed in other strikes, adding the attack on the school had also killed 14 children.

Israeli military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari had said Thursday that nine militants were killed when fighter jets attacked three classrooms in the school.

About 30 militants from Islamic Jihad and Hamas were hiding there, he said.

UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini said the strike had been carried out "without prior warning".

He added that UNRWA "shares the coordinates of all its facilities (including this school) with the Israeli army and other parties in the conflict".

"Attacking, targeting or using UN buildings for military purposes are a blatant disregard of International Humanitarian law," Lazzarini said.

The bloodiest-ever Gaza war was sparked by Hamas's October 7 attack, which resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Israel's retaliatory military offensive has killed at least 36,731 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.