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Places of shelter are not a target: Israeli airstrikes on UNRWA school in central Gaza

Statement by CARE’s West Bank and Gaza Country Director, Daw Mohamed

June 7, 2024 – We are deeply saddened by the horrific scenes emerging from an UNRWA-run school in the Al-Nuseirat camp in central Gaza, which has been reportedly targeted by the Israeli army with multiple airstrikes in the early morning hours while displaced families were sleeping, killing 40 people, mostly women and children, according to initial reports from local authorities and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees.

Many displaced families who had lost their homes sought refuge at the school, as many schools across Gaza are being used as shelter. An estimated 70% of Gaza’s residential housing stock has been destroyed by Israeli airstrikes over the past 8 months, and innocent civilians are increasingly unable to find any safe space to shelter in, moving from one place to another with no hope of any respite.

Al-Aqsa Hospital, one of the last remaining functioning hospitals in the central area of the Gaza Strip, has been struggling with a spike in the number of dead and wounded coming in from different central areas like Deir Al-Balah and Al-Bureij camp and in the last 48 hours, Al-Nuseirat. With the decimation of the healthcare system across Gaza, the few remaining hospitals are struggling to continue receiving patients.

Civilians must be protected no matter where they are in Gaza as international humanitarian law demands. Places of shelter are not a target.

We also call for the re-opening of the Rafah crossing, which has long served as the main entry point into Gaza for humanitarian and commercial goods as well as the port of exit for many war-wounded civilians who await urgent life-saving treatment abroad. Israel as the occupying power should ensure unimpeded humanitarian access into Gaza that will allow humanitarian organizations to scale up their response to meet the catastrophic and tragic level of needs. We urge parties to the conflict to agree to a ceasefire deal that brings an end to this unrelenting violence and destruction and frees all hostages.

For media inquiries, please contact: usa.media@care.org

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