Dozens killed as ‘4 schools in the last 4 days’ struck in Gaza

At least 25 people were killed and dozens more wounded in the fourth strike on or near a school in the Gaza Strip in just four days, health officials in the enclave said late Tuesday.

Dozens of people were gathered outside the Al-Awda school, in Abasan, a city in southern Gaza’s Khan Younis governorate, when the strike hit, witnesses told NBC News’ crew shortly after the attack. Some of them were watching a soccer match, they said.

Footage released by Al Jazeera and authenticated by NBC News showed a game being played in the school’s courtyard before a blast rings out. As screams ring out, people dash in all directions.

Shortly afterward, an NBC News crew filmed bloodied patients, including young children, filling the hallways. Many were lying on the ground, wailing in agony.

“I was walking, when suddenly I found myself flying,” Ahmed Wessam Kediah, 14, said as he lay on a stretcher, his bloodied leg wrapped in bandages. “I saw all the wounded. Just body parts.”

The heavily damaged Al-Awda school in Khan Younis on Wednesday. Abed Rahim Khatib / Anadolu via Getty Images

Later, at the scene of the strike, the NBC News crew filmed a young boy wailing over two body bags, with several others laid out on the ground.

“They killed my father and my uncle,” he cried. “They died. They died. They died.”

The Israel Defense Forces said Tuesday it had struck a Hamas fighter who had taken part in the Oct. 7 attack using precise munition. It said it was looking into reports that civilians were harmed near the Al-Awda school, which it noted was “near the location of the strike.”

Hamas condemned the strike in a statement. As efforts ramped up in Qatar’s capital, Doha, to negotiate a cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas, the militant group later warned that Israeli attacks could threaten the progress of the talks.

If a deal is reached, it would bring an end to nearly nine months of fighting in Gaza, where local health officials say more than 38,000 people have been killed. It would also mean hostages taken during Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attack, in which 1,200 people were killed and around 250 others were kidnapped, would be released.

‘Death & misery’

The strike was one of at least “4 schools hit in the last 4 days,” Philippe Lazzarini, commissioner-general of the United Nations’ Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA, said in a post on X on Wednesday.  

“Schools have gone from safe places of education & hope for children to overcrowded shelters and often ending up a place of death & misery,” he said.

On Saturday, a strike hit an UNRWA-run school in Nuseirat in central Gaza, with at least 16 people killed and dozens injured, according to local health officials. UNRWA spokesperson Juliette Touma told NBC News the school had served as a temporary home to as many as 2,000 internally displaced Palestinians.

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