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Dozens killed in Israeli strike on UN school in Gaza -Dlight News

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An Israeli strike on what its military said was a Hamas compound inside a UN school in central Gaza has killed dozens of people, according to Palestinian officials.

Israel said the strike in Nuseirat on Thursday had targeted Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants who were part of the Nukhba forces that spearheaded the October 7 attack on Israel.

However, Hamas’s media office accused Israel of carrying out a “horrific massacre” and said the strike on the school where displaced Palestinians had been sheltering killed 40 people including women and children and injured 74 others.

The Israeli military said it had taken a number of steps to reduce the risk of harm to civilians, including carrying out aerial surveillance of the site before the strike. A spokesman said the military had called off the attack twice to limit civilian casualties. He added that 20 to 30 militants had been using the facility.

Israel launched its assault on Gaza after Hamas’s October 7 attack, during which militants killed 1,200 people and took 250 hostage, according to Israeli officials.

However, it has come under increasing international pressure over the toll of its offensive, which has killed more than 36,500 people, according to Palestinian officials, and fuelled a humanitarian catastrophe in the coastal enclave.

Last week, Israel faced widespread condemnation after a strike ignited a fire and killed dozens of people in a camp housing displaced Palestinians in Rafah. That incident came two days after the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to “immediately halt” its offensive in the southern city.

Relatives mourn a man killed in the Israeli airstrike on Nuseirat
Relatives mourn a man killed in the Israeli attack on Thursday © Bashar Taleb/AFP via Getty Images

In an effort to end the conflict, which is in its eighth month, US President Joe Biden last week set out what he said was an Israeli proposal to free the roughly 120 hostages still held by Hamas in Gaza and bring about a lasting ceasefire.

On Thursday the US, UK and 15 other countries called “on the leaders of Israel as well as Hamas to make whatever final compromises are necessary to close this deal”, warning that “there is no time to lose”.

However, neither Israel nor Hamas has so far accepted the plan. Facing pressure from far-right members of his government, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said the country will not agree to a ceasefire before it has destroyed Hamas.

Meanwhile, Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas’s political bureau, said on Wednesday that the group would demand a permanent end to the war as part of any deal.

“The movement and factions of the resistance will deal seriously and positively with any agreement that is based on a comprehensive ending of the aggression and the complete withdrawal and prisoners swap,” he said.

Efforts to end the war have been given added urgency by fears that the hostilities could also ignite a full-blown conflict between Israel and Hizbollah, the Iran-backed Lebanese militant group, after an escalation in cross-border fire between the two sides.

The Israeli military confirmed on Thursday that one of its soldiers had died after a Hizbollah drone strike the previous day that injured several other soldiers.

Netanyahu visited the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona on Wednesday and warned that the Israeli military was “prepared for very intense action in the north”.

His comments came a day after the head of the military, Herzi Halevi, warned that a “point of decision” was fast approaching over whether an offensive would need to be launched in Lebanon.

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