United Nations investigators have uncovered no evidence of Hamas fighters being holed up in a Gaza school where 40 civilians were killed on Tuesday. Many of the dead were children.
The Israel Defense Forces Spokesman’s Office is claiming that they only fired at the school because they were in pursuit of Hamas fighters. They also claim they were returning fire.
Chris Gunness, a spokesman of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) says that after a preliminary investigation of the Fakhura girl’s elementary school is not turning up any militants. Gunness said the UN was 99.9% sure of that finding.
Before Israel bombed the school 400 Palestinians had taken refuge there. They had fled the shelling of the Jabalya refugee camp believing that Israel would heed the U.N. flag flying at the school. The U.N. also believed that the school would be safe after they had communicated its coordinates of all its schools and buildings to the Israeli military. The goal was to that the military would spare humanitarian missions.
They appear to be wrong on that assumption.
30 people who had sought help died as the mortars or artillery shells hit the school. Ten others have since died last night from their injuries in hospital. Three other civilians died at another school on Tuesday that was bombed by Israel.
Israel is insisting that the mortars were fired from within the crowded schoolyard. It also claims that Hamas is using civilians as human shields. The IDF has listed Imad and Hasasan Abu Askar as the ones who fired the mortars. IDF has not though explained how they were able to identify those two among the many casualties. The IDF has not visited the school nor do they have access to a casualty list from Gaza’s hospitals.