Published: 20th November 2023
“Horrifying”: UN Chief condemns Israel’s attack on UN-run schools in Gaza
In a post on social media platform X, Gutteres wrote, "I am deeply shocked that 2 @UNRWA schools were struck in less than 24 hours in Gaza"
United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed deep shock over the attack on two UN-run schools in Gaza within 24 hours, during the 44th day of the Israel-Hamas war, states a report by ANI.
The UN Chief also said that reports indicate that women and children seeking shelter in these schools have been killed or seriously injured.
In a post on social media platform X (formerly Twitter), Gutteres wrote, "I am deeply shocked that 2 @UNRWA schools were struck in less than 24 hours in Gaza."
"Dozens of people — many women and children — were killed and injured as they were seeking safety in @UN premises," he added and reaffirmed, saying, "our premises are inviolable."
According to the report, a top UN official described the attack on the al-Fakhoura School in Jabalya as "horrifying". Video footage showed bloodied bodies in rooms used as shelters, with many casualties among women and children. One room appeared to contain about a dozen bodies lying on the floor, covered in dust. Desks were strewn and smashed and a huge hole could be seen in one of the room's walls. In the building courtyard, a canopy roof across a metal structure appears to have been torn off, and debris is visible on the ground, as per CNN.
A spokesperson for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), Juliette Touma, confirmed the incident, though the total casualties remain unclear. However, she could not confirm what caused the incident or who was responsible. UNRWA Chief Philippe Lazzarini, who termed the images “horrifying” in a post on X, stated that thousands of displaced people were sheltering at the time.
The Israeli military is reviewing the incident without further comment. Egypt and Qatar attributed the attack to Israel's military campaign, with the Egyptian Foreign Ministry denouncing it as "bombing" and said it was the latest in a series of Israeli violations against civilians in Gaza.
Qatar called for independent UN investigators to examine the "ongoing targeting of schools and hospitals" in Gaza. This incident follows another attack on a UNRWA school in Zaitoun, sheltering 4,000 people, within the past 24 hours Touma told CNN, reports ANI. She added that ambulances reportedly faced difficulties reaching the site due to ongoing fighting and a communications blackout.