Gaza hospital reduces number of women, children it says killed

‘Falling for Hamas tactics’: IDF names 9 terrorists killed in school strike, slams media

After attack on UNRWA facility that reportedly killed 33 and sparked global anger, army spokesman says its intel showed no women or children in the targeted rooms

The identities of nine of the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists the IDF says were killed in a strike on an UNRWA school on June 5, 2024, in this graphic released a day later. (IDF)
The identities of nine of the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists the IDF says were killed in a strike on an UNRWA school on June 5, 2024, in this graphic released a day later. (IDF)

The IDF on Thursday blasted international media organizations for again taking the claims of Hamas authorities at face value and reporting that Israel carried out a deadly airstrike on an UNRWA school without noting that the central Gaza compound was being used by terrorists.

“Sadly, we saw some media outlets fall for Hamas’s tactics yet again before checking the facts,” IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said during a press conference in which he revealed the identities of nine terror operatives killed in the attack.

Those targeted were members of Hamas’s elite Nukhba force and of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group who “directed terror attacks from the area of the school while exploiting it as a civilian location and as a shelter.”

“The terrorists inside this school were planning more attacks against Israelis, some of them imminent. We stopped a ticking time bomb,” Hagari claimed.

Hagari said there were around 30 terrorists in the three rooms that were targeted. He said some of those killed had participated in the Hamas-led October 7 terror onslaught during which some 1,200 Israelis were killed and 251 were taken hostage. Hagari said the IDF was working to verify this information further before making it public.

Many international reports on the Wednesday night strike relied on Hamas authorities’ claim that 33 Palestinians were killed and made little or no mention of any alleged connection to terror activity.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital initially reported that nine women and 14 children were among those killed in the strike on the school that had been operating as a shelter due to the war’s mass displacement of Palestinians.

The hospital morgue on Thursday evening amended those records to show that the dead were three women, nine children and 21 men. An Associated Press reporter had counted the bodies but was unable to look beneath the shrouds.

An injured Palestinian man is wheeled away from a UN school housing displaced Palestinians that was hit by an Israeli strike in Nuseirat, in the central Gaza Strip, on June 6, 2024. The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry claimed there were dozens of civilian fatalities. The IDF said it hit three classrooms where Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists were gathered, killing many of them. (Bashar TALEB / AFP)

Hagari said the strike targeted the Hamas and PIJ operatives gathered in three classrooms at the UN school and noted this was the fifth time this past month alone that the IDF struck terrorists operating from facilities belonging to the UNRWA agency for Palestinian refugees.

“Hamas wages war from schools and hospitals. Hamas hopes that international law and public sympathy will provide a shield for its military activities, which is why it systematically operates from schools, UN facilities, hospitals and mosques,” Hagari continued, stressing that this is a war crime that should be condemned by the international community.

The IDF spokesperson noted that the IDF delayed the strike twice after identifying civilians in the area, which it had been monitoring for several days.

“We conducted the strike once our intelligence and surveillance indicated that there were no women or children inside those classrooms,” he asserted.

IDF Spokesman Daniel Hagari speaks on June 3, 2024. (Video screenshot)

He did not deny that civilians were still killed in the strike.

Ostensibly relying on the same reports from Hamas authorities, governments and international organizations issued a flood of condemnations against Israel on Thursday.

Philippe Lazzarini, the head of the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA, said that Israel bombed the school “without prior warning.”

“Another UNRWA school turned shelter attacked,” he wrote on X. “Attacking, targeting or using UN buildings for military purposes is a blatant disregard of International Humanitarian law.”

Stephan Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said the strike “is just another horrific example of the price that civilians are paying, that Palestinian men, women and children who are just trying to survive (are paying).

“Of course [Guterres] condemns this attack. There will need to be accountability for everything that has happened in Gaza.”

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called for a probe into the strike, writing on X, “Reports coming from Gaza time and again show that violence and suffering are still the only reality for hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. This appalling news must be independently investigated.”

Meanwhile, the US called on Israel to be “transparent” regarding the strike, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters.

Miller said the United States believed Israeli assessments that Hamas has at times hidden in civilian infrastructure, but said it was waiting for information on the latest strike.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry says more than 36,000 people in the Strip have been killed or are presumed dead in the fighting so far. Of these, some 24,000 fatalities have been identified at hospitals or through self-reporting by families, with the rest of the figure based on Hamas “media sources.” The tolls, which cannot be verified, include some 15,000 terror operatives Israel says it has killed in battle. Israel also says it killed some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7.

AFP contributed to this report.

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